Awareness, prevention keys in April


VALLEY — April is both Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM) and Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and Tu Casa, Inc. would like to invite everyone to support the cause. Throughout the month of April, Tu Casa will be raising awareness by promoting the colors royal blue for CAPM and teal for SAAM amongst other activities and educational resources. We want to educate everyone about abuse and help prevent it in our community.

Child Abuse Prevention Month is focused on fostering great childhoods in our community. The prevention is to encourage others that child abuse and neglect is preventable. It can be as simple as supporting children and families to live healthy, safe lives. Prevent Child Abuse America states most adults who help prevent child abuse and neglect assist by mentoring children or parents, donating time or money, or advocating for children and families.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate the community on how to prevent sexual violence. In 1976, Take Back the Night was organized to protest rape and sexual assault that women encountered walking the streets at night. Over time, the organization became a movement across the United States. By the late 1990s, advocates began coordinating events throughout the month of April, and SAAM became observed in 2001. In 2009, President Obama proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted and every eight minutes, the victim is a child. About 3 percent, or 1 in 33 of American males have experienced an attempted or completed rape in his lifetime. One out of every six American females has been a victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.  The majority of sexual assaults occur at or near the victim’s home. Sexual violence can have long-term effects on victims such as PTSD, contemplated suicide, distress, and drug/alcohol abuse along with STIs and/or pregnancies.    

As stated with Child Maltreatment 2015, there were 7.2 million child abuse cases reported: 75.3 percent child victims were neglected, 17.2 percent child victims were physically abused, and 8.4 percent child victims were sexually abused. More than 27 percent of the reported child victims were younger than 3 years of age. The Child Maltreatment 2015 also reports children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect, as it is greatly under-reported.

Tu Casa, Inc. and the San Luis Valley Children’s Advocacy Center are non-profit agencies that help adults and children live free of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. The agency provides services to all six counties in the San Luis Valley with a 24-hour crisis/assistance hotline. Tu Casa, Inc. provided services to approximately 326 people in 2017 and the SLV Children’s Advocacy Center assisted about 137 children in 2017. All services are free, confidential, and available in English and Spanish. Our mission is to support healthy, safe, violence free lives for all children and adults in the San Luis Valley.

During the month of April, we will be promoting the colors royal blue and teal. On April 6th, royal blue was worn to promote Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM) and on April 25th, teal along with any and all denim will be worn to promote Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Denim Day is a campaign to honor a victim who was raped about 20 years ago in Italy by a driving instructor. The Italian Supreme Court overturned the rape conviction, because the justices felt the victim’s jeans were too tight, thus she must have helped her rapist take them off; therefore, the justices were implying it was consensual sex.

Along with promoting the colors royal blue and teal, Shelly Martinez and Theresa Ortega of the SLV Children’s Advocacy Center presented at Lunch N Learn at Hospice del Valle on Wednesday, April 4. Also, Tu Casa, Inc. and SLV Children’s Advocacy Center are joining with Alamosa Department of Human Services for a Child Abuse Carnival on Saturday, April 14th from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Alamosa Recreation Center. All month long the Alamosa Elementary students will be participating in a poster contest, with the theme “Speak Up Who’s Your Safe Adult.” The Alamosa Elementary School libraries, Southern Peaks Library, Adams State University Nielsen Library along with Trinidad State Junior College will have display boards about Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 

Child abuse and sexual assault can no longer be ignored and we must work together to raise awareness and end the violence.  If you need help or know someone who does, call our local 24-hour crisis/assistance hotline at 719-589-2465. Also, you can donate or volunteer to help honor those who have been impacted by an abuse. You may go to our website, www.slvtucasa.net, and click on the link to donate or contact us.

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