OSKALOOSA — To raise awareness and stand in solidarity with survivors, a number of area towns are displaying teal ribbons this month. Locally, the town of Centerville will allow Crisis Intervention Services to decorate trees in its square in recognition of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
These ribbons are meant to remind us that sexual violence touches all of us, with one in five women and one in 33 men being victimized by an attempted or completed rape in their lifetimes. Young people are at the greatest risk: almost half of first time rape victims are under 18, and 80 percent are under 25. However, sexual violence is preventable. The first step in influencing societal attitudes that contribute to these forms of abuse is the willingness to openly discuss the issue. Just as awareness campaigns have reduced levels of smoking and drunk driving, public health efforts are underway to decrease the rates of sexual assault.
CIS provides free and confidential counseling and advocacy services to sexual assault survivors of all ages and their loved ones, and can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-800-270-1620. They also provide speakers for community groups, as well as conduct prevention education at schools and colleges. To schedule a speaker for your group, call Charisa at (641) 673-0336.