Centerstone Resource and Recovery Center’s Sexual Assault and Trauma Services held a Sexual Assault Awareness Day Rally on April 4 at its 6th Avenue West location in Bradenton, Fla.
While the event was a success, the statistics surrounding sexual assault remain staggering.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women will be the victims of rape at some point in their lives. The Department of Justice found a majority of rapes (63%) go unreported.
Focusing on improving the response to victims of sexual violence has become the focus for Theresa L. Prichard, Esq., the associate director and general counsel for the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV). Prichard gave the keynote address for Centerstone’s Sexual Assault Awareness Day Rally.
Prichard manages FCASV’s legal services to victims in the Tampa Bay area and provides civil legal services in issues of enforcing employment rights, protecting victim privacy and immigration.
Survivors and their families shared stories of survival through an annual art project that will be displayed throughout the year. This year’s art project and rally theme is “Know Your Power,” conveying the message that there is power in a community that supports and stands by victims of sexual assault in the journey from victim to survivor.
According to the Healing Arts Project, Inc. (HAPI), art comforts survivors of traumatic experiences by allowing them to express and externalize their personal struggles as they create art to tell their story, promoting healing in themselves and understanding in the community.
Event speakers also discussed the impact sexual violence has on communities and encouraged anyone affected by sexual assault to seek help.