When folks think of April, they consider it to be a breath of fresh air with the cold days of winter officially in the rearview mirror and fields of bluebonnets sprouting everywhere. But what most don’t realize that it’s also Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Usually it’s the time when The Women’s Center of Tarrant County held its annual Victory Over Violence Walk/Run. But due to the pandemic, that fundraiser had to be canceled. Luckily, the Center’s leadership didn’t miss a beat and came up with a new plan to raise funds and awareness of the growing problem. With sexual assault having become even more outrageous as a result of the pandemic, they created the “Victory Over Violence – Hope Starts Here” campaign.
The month-long campaign officially starts with Sexual Assault Community Action Day on Tuesday, April 6, when the group will “address the Tarrant County Commissioners Court and will receive a proclamation declaring the day ‘Turn Tarrant Teal’ Day.”
To “turn Tarrant teal,” the Center is selling teal T-Shirts for $25 with proceeds benefiting The Women’s Center’s “continuum of care for the more than 100,000 women, men and children served in the Rape Crisis and Victim Services Program. These services give survivors the tools to heal from the devastating effects of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and other violent crimes, as well as empowers the community to prevent and respond to interpersonal violence through education and training.”
The T-Shirts come in sizes that fit men, women and children
As part of the campaign and in an effort to educate students about “sexual and relationship violence” on college campuses, the Center will be holding events in coordination with TCU, UTA, TCC and UNTHSC.
According to The Women’s Center President/CEO Laura Hilgart, “Child and adult victims of interpersonal violence, already vulnerable and traumatized, have been made even more so by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Women’s Center is preparing to see an increase in victims seeking services, as many have been trapped in unsafe situations and may have experienced more extreme levels of violence. Since we are unable to have our Victory Over Violence Walk/Run, we need the community’s support to raise critical funds to sustain our work—work that prevents violence and helps survivors heal.”
Just to emphasize the importance of the campaign, Laura points to the following statistics:
- Every 73 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted (RAINN.org).
- Nearly one in three Texans will experience sexual assault in their lifetime, with women being twice as likely to be victimized as men.
- One in four girls and one in six boys experience some form of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday.
- Eight out of ten rapes are committed by someone known to the victim (RAINN.org).
BTW, you don’t have to live in Tarrant County to buy/wear the T-Shirt.
* Graphic/photo courtesy of The Women's Center of Tarrant County