April is a month of recognition for several important issues. Sexual Assault Awareness is one of them. An Illinois organization is bringing this offense to the forefront.
The Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault runs rape crisis centers throughout the state.
Carrie Ward, the executive director of the coalition, said there are number of programs taking place this month.
“Ranging from things like clothesline project where survivors are able to decorate shirts and the acknowledgement of the assaults they've experienced,” she said, “to events like walk a mile in her shoes that are community awareness events that try to especially raise awareness for men regarding sexual violence.”
Ward said sexual assault is a crime that is underreported. She said that’s because most people find it hard to believe that someone who they trusted could commit this wrongdoing.
“So, I think what we're seeing statistically is a lower number of cases that are being reported. But what we are seeing in the rape crisis centers is some consistent level of folks reaching out and wanting services,” Ward explained.
She said although this month is set aside to identify these issues, this is something that needs attention all year.
To find your nearest rape crisis center, click here.
- Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.