United States Attorney Observes
April As Sexual Assault Awareness Month
AUGUSTA, GA – Edward J. Tarver, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, announced today that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is observed around the country by advocates, victim service providers, law enforcement, the judiciary, prosecutors and survivors to raise public awareness about sexual assault.
In support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, United States Attorney Ed Tarver stated:
This Administration has made it a priority to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals about prevention of these dangerous acts. From strong leadership at the White House, to hard work by the Department of Justice and our federal agency partners - ending sexual assault is an important priority.
The greatest tragedy about deaths due to sexual assault is the realization that in many cases, they could have been prevented. There is a growing consensus between researchers and practitioners that sexual violence homicides are predictable and thus are often preventable.
The patterns are chilling. Perpetrators of these crimes often have prior history of sexual violence. Most of the women killed, are killed by a current or former spouse or domestic partner and had previously been subjected to attempted strangulation, threats with weapons, stalking, sexual assault and obsessively jealous and controlling behavior by their killers. So by the time abuse escalated to homicide, it is likely that someone - - the family, a neighbor or a co-worker was ware that something was wrong.
The Department of Justice has joined in the effort to better serve victims of sexual assault. A newly revised definition of rape for nationwide data collection ensures that rape will be more accurately reported across the United States. The change helps reiterate to rape victims that what happens to them matters and sends an important message to those who commit the crime of rape, they will be held accountable.
The Violence Against Women Act provides part of the framework for the efforts of the Department of Justice. This landmark legislation reflects the consensus that as nation, we must do everything we can to address this problem. Since its enactment two decades ago, the Act has provided support for survivors of sexual assault and helped to reduce the intolerable number of victims killed by a domestic partner.
Research and experience since the Violence Against Women Act was enacted, makes clear that while we have accomplished much, we can do more. Over the years we have worked hard to bring the problem of sexual assault and sexual violence out of the shadows. We have shined a spot light on it, not only as a law enforcement issue, but as a community issue. While we have made great progress, there is still much to be done. National Sexual Assault Month is a time to focus on this issue, but let’s not forget that this is a problem we need to deal with twelve months a year.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia is pleased to support the events scheduled in the Augusta, Georgia area. Augusta State University, Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services and Paine College will continue hosting multiple activities during the month of April. Students, parents, survivors of violence, supporters of survivors, and any community advocates wishing to eliminate sexual violence from our communities are invited to participate. This week’s scheduled activities will conclude at Augusta State University with the 16th Annual Take Back the Night Rally and Candlelight Walk on Thursday, April 19, 2012.
For more information on the events planned in Augusta, please contact Anne Ealick Henry, Program Director, Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services at (706) 724-5200, Tiffaney Williams at Paine College at (706) 821-8392 or Shannon Nix at Augusta State University (706) 737-1471.