January 17, 2019
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Local center celebrates Sexual Assault Awareness Month with prevention

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Rape jokes, victim-blaming, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse are all topics that have been in the media this year, but with little talk of prevention.

Every April, Rape Response Services, recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year’s campaign focuses on different types of sexual violence and prevention. It’s time. Prevent sexual violence at every age is a new statewide campaign and it focuses on all types of sexual violence from child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and rape jokes, to elder abuse. In partnership with other sexual assault support centers across the state, Rape Response Services will engage in year-long messaging with regard to prevention, healthy sexuality, and gender norms.

Rape Response Services recognizes that it takes a whole community to end sexual violence. “We are teaming up with downtown Bangor businesses to help get the word out about Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” said Tamar Mathieu, Executive Director, Rape Response Services. The public is invited to visit Rape Response Services from 5:00pm -7:00pm on Friday, April 5th at Metropolitan Soul, Friday, April 12th at Valentine Footwear, and Friday, April 19th at the Rock & Art Shop. “It will be an opportunity to learn how you can help prevent sexual violence, while supporting your favorite downtown Bangor businesses. We will have information, giveaways and treats,” continued Mathieu.

Sexual violence in Maine, and nationally, is prevalent and underreported. A study in 2011 found that approximately 13,000 Mainers would experience sexual assault or rape each year. Only 391 rapes and attempted rapes were reported to law enforcement in 2012. For crime victims, rape is the most costly violent crime, costing 127 billion dollars annually, excluding the cost of childhood sexual abuse.

“It’s not only about bringing awareness to the issue of sexual violence – we know it happens,” says Mathieu. “We are working with communities across Penobscot and Piscataquis counties in innovative ways to prevent sexual violence and support victims and survivors.”

To learn more about preventing sexual violence in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties, visit www.rrsonline.org or contact Rape Response Services at rrsinfo@penquis.org

Maine’s sexual assault support centers provide free, 24-hour, confidential support and resources for victims, survivors, and those who care about them. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse, call the free, confidential, statewide sexual assault crisis and support line at 1-800-871-7741 or TTY 1-888-458-5599.

Rape Response Services, a subsidiary of Penquis, is the sexual assault support center serving Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. If you are in Penobscot or Piscataquis counties, you can reach Rape Response Services by calling the statewide crisis and support line, by calling Rape Response Services directly at 1-800-310-0000 or visit www.rrsonline.org