Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is reminding residents about the local services available to them as domestic and sexual assault are on the rise nationally. A Forbes report shows the U.S. Domestic Violence Hotline has received over 2,300 calls since March 16th where COVID-19 was cited as a condition of the abuse. Isolation orders in some cases have made it worse since some services are not available or harder to access. Even as the dynamics change, Joski says people need to know there are still places they can turn to for support.
Joski says organizations like Algoma’s Violence Intervention Project are doing a great job supporting victims and advocating for change. You can read Joski’s thoughts on Sexual Assault Awareness Month below.
FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI
The month of April is designated in the State of Wisconsin as Sexual Assault Awareness month. For those who have been impacted by the brutality of these senseless acts the pain and suffering never truly vanishes. Historically the victimization of these crimes did not end with the act itself but unfortunately were further perpetrated by a culture of secrecy and transferred blame on the part of those who were attacked rather than the attacker. For many years these crimes were minimized or even justified based on the condition of the victim or even in some cases the very clothing that they were wearing at the time of the attack.
Fortunately those days are over and we as a society have come to recognize the severity of sexual assault for what it is. We have striven to provide the greatest possible support for the victims while working towards the most severe level of accountability for the perpetrators. We have opened channels of communication to those who have had to live in the shadows of victimization allowing their voices to finally be heard. One of the organizations that have been instrumental in this transformation is our own Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project. Having personally worked alongside these amazing advocates for change, I can attest to both their courage and their dedication in the area of victim support and community awareness.
Typically, during the month of April the Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project would be sponsoring numerous events to bring awareness to this issue; however this has not been a typical year so far. In light of our current restrictions there will be a new but just as interactive way of supporting those who have been victimized as well as to be part of the effort to eliminate these crimes all together.
During this time of social distancing and Safer at Home quarantine, the Violence Intervention Project is doing a social media campaign through their Facebook page for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. They are asking that you participate, because it is so easy! All you have to do is think of one thing you #cando (or already do) to help support survivors, change the culture of sexual violence, and help to stop all forms of sexual violence in our community. Message the VIP Facebook page with a quote about one the thing you #cando, along with a selfie, and VIP will plug it into a template and share it on Facebook during SAAM. You can then share that post with your own friends and family members so they can virtually participate too! Please forward this to anyone else in your office or department who may be interested; or you can take an older already existing group photo and send a quote about your whole department. There is more information and a list of examples of things you #cando on the website, found here: https://www.vipadvocates.net/events/2020-04/turn-metoo-into-cando-2020-04-01/
Please take the time to join in supporting those affected by these senseless acts and bringing a greater awareness to our need as a society to rid our communities of any and all Sexual Assaults.