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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

If you follow the headlines, you know that sexual abuse happens.

It happens often and close to home.

This reality can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember child sexual abuse can be prevented when we all play our part.

On behalf of the Waupaca County Sexual Assault Response Team, we wish to make residents aware that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The 2013 theme is prevention of child sexual abuse.

Communities across the country are standing up for child abuse prevention by proclaiming “It’s time . . . to talk about it.”

All adults have a role in child sexual abuse prevention, and this year’s campaign encourages individuals and communities to support healthy sexual development by talking early, talking often and taking action.

By talking about healthy childhood sexual development, adults are able to support the children in their lives.

When adults support age-appropriate behaviors, model healthy boundaries and speak up to other adults, they are an ally to prevention.

It’s also our job to respect children, model healthy behavior and boundaries and confront adults when they act in ways that are not appropriate.

There is often silence and discomfort when it comes to the discussion of sexual development.

It’s important to understand that this is a normal experience we all share.

By opening up communication, sharing age-appropriate information with children and educating one another, we are taking steps toward a safer community.

Choose to start the conversation about healthy childhood sexual development.

Whether you are a parent, educator or community member, it’s time for you to start talking early and often to support an enviroment where children are safe.

The Waupaca County Sexual Assault Response Team is holding “Ring Out Sexual Violence” on Friday, April 12 at 12 p.m. at the entrance of the Waupaca County Courthouse.

The event lasts about 12 minutes.

The gathering is intended to acknowledge local efforts in the prevention, investigation, prosecution, treatment and support of victims and their families who have been affected by sexual assault.

Members of the public are welcome to stand with us to hear the impact of sexual violence in our community.

Bring your own bell to participate in “ringing out” sexual violence.

It’s time . . . to talk about it.

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