Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Youths take on fight against sexual assault

Talk about it, a lot, this month


From left to right are Every Teen Has A Choice interns for The Advocates, Kenya Schott, Bailey Cleven, Jackie Schultz and John Quinones.
Courtesy photo

    The Hailey-based Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is reminding the public that April is National Sexual Assault Awareness month and its Every Teen Has A Choice interns will be out in the community raising awareness.
    This is summary of their “call to action: to share information and skills to support healthy sexuality; connect with adults who support and listen; be positive young role models; engage with peers, learn from one another, and model respect; connect with resources in our communities; challenge unhealthy messages and stereotypes in our culture and the media and counter representations and promote respect.
    The Advocates provides sexual-assault and dating-violence prevention education to youths. Parents are also encouraged to have an open dialogue with their pre-teen children, boys and girls, about sexual-assault prevention and how to avoid being a victim or a perpetrator of this crime.  The more people who understand how to help prevent sexual assault, the more they can help create environments where people are safe in their relationships, families, neighborhoods, schools, work places and communities.
    Every two minutes, someone in the U. S. is sexually assaulted. The Advocates encourages sexual-assault victims to reach out and get help. Last year, The Advocates assisted 82 victims of past or current sexual assaults. Services provided include crisis intervention; support at the hospital, police station or court; assistance navigating the criminal justice system; victim, partner or family counseling; assistance filing victim compensations forms, and follow-up support and advocacy.
    The organization has these goals for the community:
• Learn and talk about healthy sexuality. Young people face many challenges during adolescence. Adults and communities can be a resource to teens so they learn and grow.
• Start an open and honest dialogue. Young people need age-appropriate information about healthy relationships from trusted adults.
• Model healthy behaviors. All can play a role in promoting positive skills, creating safe environments and challenging negative unhealthy messages.
• Get involved.  Participate in projects that promote healthy relationships and public awareness about sexual violence.
• Welcome questions.  Listen to the voices of youths and help create a vision for a future without sexual violence.  Every voice can play a role in a healthier, safer tomorrow.

    There is a free self defense class on Friday, April 25, at 6 p.m. in the Blaine County Recreation Fitness Room and the Community Campus in Hailey.
    Join The Advocates and professional self–defense trainer Gary Peterson to learn safety techniques dealing with personal empowerment, social safety and escape from violent situations.
    Master Peterson is a 5th Dan Kukkiwon Black Belt and head instructor of Sun Valley Taekwondo.
    This training session is free for adult and teenage women. Teens are encouraged to attend with parental consent.
    For more information or to enroll contact Darrel Harris or Jackie Hennessy at 788-4191.
    The Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault was founded in 1991. It is led by Executive Director Tricia Swartling.
     The Advocates is a nonprofit organization with the mission to teach people of all ages how to build and maintain healthy relationships. This is accomplished through education, shelter, and support services. The Advocates provides more than 30 free, essential services in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, including a staffed shelter, crisis intervention, safety planning, support groups, legal assistance and prevention education in the schools. For more information, call The Advocates at 788-4191 or

Statistics on sexual assault
•    One in six women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
•    One in four college women report surviving rape or attempted rape since their 14th birthday.
•    More than one in 10 girls will be physically forced to have sexual intercourse by the time they graduate high school.
•    In Idaho, 8.8 percent of students report having been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.
•    In North America, approximately 15 percent to 25 percent of women and 5 percent to 15 percent of men were sexually abused when they were children.


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