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Posted on: April 19, 2017

APRIL DECLARED AS SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH

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The Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney’s Office shares a critical concern for victims of sexual violence and a desire to support their needs for justice and healing. During Tuesday's Commissioners Court meeting, Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr., joined by Sheriff J.E. "Eddie" Guerra, HCDA Victims Unit staff and community partners, accepted a proclamation declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month to encourage community involvement.

Sexual violence is widespread and impacts every person in this community. The statistics are staggering; one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives; one in six boys and one in four girls will experience a sexual assault before the age of 18; youth ages 12 to 17 are 2.5 times as likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault; and, during their time in college, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted. 

"Victims are likely to disclose a sexual assault to a friend or family member, and when the loved one responds with doubt, shame, or blame, victims suffer additional negative effects on their physical and psychological well-being," said Victims Unit Director Rosie Martinez.

Prior to the Commissioners Court meeting, Rodriguez had hosted a news conference and informational fair on the courthouse lawn to raise awarenss of the issue and of services and programs available to victims.

"In our office we've noticed we've had more cases of sexual assaults coming in through our agencies," Rodriguez said. "People are not afraid to come out. We are all working to protect them."

This year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign theme is “Engaging New Voices.” As part of an effort to join communities across the country in taking action to prevent sexual violence and to provide prevention awareness of this terrible crime.

"Thank you for your continued support. You hear us talk about victims not being afraid to speak out. We should also not be afriad to speak out and not be afraid to tell people that there is support," Rodriguez said.

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District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr and Sheriff J.E. "Eddie" Guerra stand with community partners and Commissioners Court to raise awareness.
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