On Wednesday, members of the Iowa State Patrol, Cherokee County Sheriff's Department, and the Cherokee Police Department symbolized this their contribution to the promotion of April's Sexual Assault Awareness by tying two colored ribbons to the police vehicles.
The driving force of this promotion is the Centers Against Abuse & Sexual Assault (CAASA), which provided the ribbons. The CAASA theme for April is "Respect Works."
Presenting the ribbons to the law enforcement agencies was Cherokee County CAASA Coordinator, Julie Schulenberg, and CAASA Youth Coordinator, Leah Johnson.
Each color of the ribbons represents a cause. Purple is to promote the awareness of domestic violence, and teal represents sexual violence awareness.
Sexual violence includes rape, sexual harassment, and incest. Making offensive jokes and comments, posting offensive images, grabbing of fondling someone, and stalking are some other examples of sexual violence.
Using the CAASA theme of "Respect Works" can drastically reduce sexual violence. Respect means treating people with consideration. This includes respecting their boundaries and being aware of how we treat one another. That respect reduces the likelihood of hurting or offending someone.
What can you do to prevent sexual violence or domestic abuses?
CAASA recommends, treat other people with respect, express your concern when you hear an offensive joke or comment, offer to help when someone is in need, reinforce positive behavior and advocate for policies in your community designed to prevent and respond to sexual violence.
No one is immune and anyone can be a victim of sexual or domestic violence. If you suspect someone is being abused or has been assaulted be supportive, nonjudgmental and understanding. Try not to ask, "What the victim did" to cause the abuse and remember that victims don not cause abuse, abusers do.
Services provided by CAASA are: 24-hour crisis line and intervention, individual support, counseling and advocacy for adults, teens and children. CAASA also provides support groups for adults, teens and children, emergency shelter for victims of abuse and child witnesses and limited transportation to services. CAASA also hosts school and community prevention programs, networking with other agencies, and referral to education programs for batterers (in cooperation with Season's Center of Mental Health).
CAASA serves victims and families of domestic and sexual violence in Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Ida, Palo Alto and Sac Counties.
Help is only a phone call away at 1-877-362-4612, or 225-5003. All services are confidential and free of charge to anyone regardless of race, religion, sex or capability.