CAA Observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 5, 2016

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month with a global theme of ‘Prevention is Possible When Everyone is Involved,’ with the Centre Against Abuse [CAA] inviting the community to take part.

The month will culminate with the Arkley Side to Side 5K on April 30, with the CAA encouraging people on the island to “help with the prevention of sexual assault in various ways” throughout April.

A spokesperson said, “Understanding the basics of sexual assault is key to its prevention. Sexual assault encompasses any type of sexual contact or behaviour that occurs without the consent of the recipient. These behaviours include, but are not limited to forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, attempted rape and sexual harassment.

“Sexual assault is not about passion, it is about power and control by the perpetrator, who in most cases is known to the survivor. Sexual assault affects people of all genders, ages, races, religions, incomes, abilities, professions, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Sexual assault is a criminal offence, and has no statute of limitation for making a criminal complaint or prosecution; however, it is most often under reported.

“Global statistics indicate that 1:4 women and 1:6 males are sexually assaulted.

“In Bermuda we have a Sexual Assault Response Team [SART] which is a community based coordinated response team, for survivors of rape. This team is comprised of sexual assault nurse examiners [they obtain forensics], Bermuda Police Service [collects evidence and liaises with Prosecutions], Department of Child and Family services [supports survivors under age 18] and Centre Against Abuse [supports male and female survivors 18 year and older].

“SART provides immediate, on-site response to a survivor of rape. SART collaborate through regular monthly meetings to strategize ways to promote awareness, coordinate sexual assault training, research and adopt evidence based forensic practices, and keep abreast of technology.

“Since 2010 SART has conducted 97 sexual assault exams on victims of rape, and 14 of these examinations were conducted on minors under the age of 18.

“Centre Against Abuse [CAA] is a registered charity, and the only organisation in Bermuda that works specifically to provide support and prevention for adult survivors of sexual assault in Bermuda. Our services in this area include: 24 hour crisis hotline for survivors, counselling for survivors [includes adult survivors of childhood sexual assault], and provides community education for building blocks towards prevention.

“CAA has as its theme ‘together we can create healthy relationships’.

“Prevention of sexual assault is possible when everyone is involved; when consent is understood and respected; when individuals support changes; when misconceptions are eliminated; and when employers value everyone.

“During the month of April the Centre Against Abuse is inviting the entire community to help with the prevention of sexual assault in various ways, such as hosting a ‘Teal Tea’ fundraiser at your home with friends and family; making donations to CAA at participating Golf Clubs [Belmont, etc.]; and participating in our Arkley Side to Side 5K on April 30, 2016.”

For more information, contact the Centre Against Abuse on 292-4366.

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