AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – This April, Aiken Regional Medical Centers is honoring sexual assault survivors by participating in The Clothesline Project; a nationally recognized campaign that addresses the issue of violence against women. This campaign, which begins on April 23rd, provides a gateway for survivors, and members of the community who might know a survivor to express their emotions by decorating a shirt, which will be hung on a clothesline as a testimony to the issue of violence for members of the community to see.
The month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year’s theme, “Engaging New Voices,” builds on the idea that we are stronger together and that new partners and community members are needed to expand sexual assault prevention efforts. We can all help the next generation foster attitudes that promote healthy relationships, equality and respect.
Nearly 1in 5 women, 1 in 33 men and 1 in 10 children are victims of sexual assault. In 2016, ARMC’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) forensic team assisted 77 victims from Aiken and five surrounding counties.
We all have a role to play in preventing sexual violence in our community. Our actions, big and small, have a ripple effect on those we teach, guide and influence. From modeling healthy behavior to addressing inappropriate conduct, everyone can make a difference.
Changing the beliefs that contribute to sexual violence must start with believing survivors of sexual violence when they share their stories. You can help by calling out victim-blaming comments or rape jokes if you see them online. Remind those around you that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. Seemingly small actions like this make a critical impact.
Get engaged this April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Join us in embracing your role in ending sexual assault. Learn more about how you can use your voice to change the culture at www.nsvrc.org/saam.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, it is best to present to the hospital as soon as possible, to collect the best evidence. It is important not to change, bathe, brush your teeth, eat, drink or smoke cigarettes. Aiken Regional Medical Centers has a trained forensic team equipped to give the victim emotional, trauma centered care. ARMC works with local victim’s advocacy centers, Cumbee Center and the Child Advocacy Center, to provide compassionate and thorough care.
For more information about Aiken Regional Medical Centers’ Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program please contact Cassie Taylor, RN, BCEN, SANE, Forensic Nurse Program Coordinator at Cassie.Taylor@uhsinc.com or the Emergency Department at 803-641-5100.