Local

Jacksonville Mayor declares April “Sexual Assault Awareness Month”

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — In a statement earlier today, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry declared April to be “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” kicking off several events happening this month with the Women’s Center of Jacksonville.

“The City of Jacksonville and our partners remain committed to supporting survivors of sexual assault and preventing sexual violence,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “To the survivors in our community, please know that your city is listening and has resources in place to support you.”

The theme for this year’s SAAM is “Healing: Past, Present and Future” to raise awareness of the lasting impacts of sexual violence and the importance of breaking the cycle of generational trauma through support, community resources, and culture change.

“Every single rape is one too many, yet every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted,” said Teresa Miles, executive director of the WCJ. “As a society, we must do better. We must believe survivors of sexual assault, stop victim-blaming, and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. Our goal is to eliminate sexual assault in our community and society overall, and until that happens, the WCJ and others are working to advance prevention efforts and to support survivors of sexual assault.”

Several events will be happening around Jacksonville to further raise awareness which includes:

Wednesday, April 6: First Wednesday Art Walk

The WCJ will host a table displaying a survivor’s artwork along with information about sexual assault and resources for survivors during Art Walk in front of the Jacksonville Public Library on Laura Street between 5-9 p.m.

Monday, April 11: HamBINGO

The WCJ will be the beneficiary of a bingo night hosted at Hamburger Mary’s at 3333 Beach Blvd. starting at 7 p.m. To participate, a $10 donation per bingo card is requested.

Tuesday, April 19: Trivia Night

The WCJ will also be a beneficiary of this trivia night fundraising event taking place at 7 p.m. at Hurricane Grill & Wings at 628-6 Atlantic Blvd. in Neptune Beach.

Sunday, April 24: Zumbathon

The community is invited to purchase $10 tickets to participate in the fundraising Zumbathon from 2-4 p.m. at LifePoint Christian Fellowship, 4298 Livingston Road.

Wednesday, April 27: Denim Day

An international campaign launched in 1999 in response to a high-profile case of sexual assault that occurred in Italy in 1992, ultimately resulting in the perpetrator being cleared of rape charges due to the “denim defense.” In protest and solidarity with all survivors, individuals are asked to wear jeans on the last Wednesday of April every year in an effort to end victim blaming and spread awareness of how to stop sexual assault.

Friday, April 29: Surviving to Thriving Art Exhibit, Celebrating the Voices of Survivors

The WCJ will host its annual art exhibit featuring visual and performance art that celebrates the voices of survivors of sexual assault at Bab’s Lab at 603 King Street. Due to space, there will be two art viewings from 6-7 p.m. and 8-9 p.m. Between 7-8 p.m., spoken word readings, performances, and speeches will occur.

You can sign up for these events at their website.

In addition to the several activities, numerous downtown landmarks, buildings, and roads will be turning teal, the official color of SAAM.