April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, otherwise known as SAAM. During this month, people across the United States raise awareness about sexual violence, how to prevent it, and how to support those who are affected by it. In conjunction with SAAM 2021, Our Home’s Family Crisis Network has integrated TEXTING capabilities into Mercer County’s 24-Hour Crisis HelpLine: 419-586-1133

Why do we see texting as a value-added support for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence? Because texting is private, comfortable, and accessible. People can send a text from anywhere, without making a sound!

In addition to these technological improvements, we are building upon the national SAAM efforts to educate residents of Mercer County about methods and services that can be employed to prevent and respond to sexual assault in our communities through local media, social media, and the following information.

Preventing Sexual Assault:

One aim of SAAM is to stop sexual assault before it has a chance to happen. It is possible to create communities and environments where everyone is treated with respect and equality. This is done through promoting safe behaviors, healthy relationships and thoughtful policies. Prevention is everyone’s responsibility. As individuals, we all play a role in fostering a safe environment.

Here are a few things we can all do to prevent sexual assault:

  • Promote and practice healthy relationships, behaviors and attitudes.
  • Intervene to stop disrespectful and problematic behavior.
  • Believe survivors and help them in finding resources for support.

Responding to Sexual Assault:

After a sexual assault occurs, victims may be physically hurt, emotionally drained or unsure of what to do next. If you or someone you know are the victim of sexual assault, don’t be embarrassed to ask for or provide help and support. Calling someone trustworthy such as a good friend or family member may help victims realize they are not alone and that there are people that can give them the support they need. Seek medical attention as soon as possible, as proper medical care can address any injuries that may have been incurred and also protect victims against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

Being an Ally to Victims:

There’s no timetable when it comes to recovering from sexual assault. If you are helping a victim, it’s important to listen and communicate without judgment. If they seek medical attention or make plans to report the assault, offer to be there for them and provide a supportive presence. Encourage the victim to get support from resources such as hotlines and sexual violence awareness/prevention organizations.

The Vital Role of Rape Crisis Advocates:

Our Home provides sexual assault advocacy for Mercer County (Ohio) residents. This role is unique and critically important; and, the impact advocates have in the lives of survivors and their loved ones cannot be overstated.

  • Unlike other professionals involved in responding to the crime of sexual violence, advocates approach all survivors by believing them, by advocating for their rights and needs, and by working to empower them in their efforts toward recovery and healing.
  • Advocates interact with survivors and their loved ones at numerous points in the aftermath of violence, including in the hospital, within the criminal justice system, on the phone, and within rape crisis programs and affiliated agencies throughout Ohio.
  • Finally, advocates are uniquely positioned to intervene at any point in the survivor’s recovery process, from immediately following the crime to decades later.

For Sexual Assault Advocacy in Mercer County, Ohio: Call or Text Our Home’s 24-Hour Helpline 419-586-1133

Information excerpted from the following sources: South Louisiana Medical Associates; Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence; How Stuff Works


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