Roanoke City dedicates month of April to raise awareness about sexual violence

SARA Roanoke plans weeks of events

ROANOKE, Va. – Empowering survivors of sexual violence, the Roanoke Valley's sexual assault crisis center known as SARA, and the city of Roanoke are dedicating the month of April to raise awareness.

Roanoke City Mayor Sherman Lea signed a proclamation marking April 3 as Sexual Assault Awareness Day. Wednesday kicks off the month-long event SARA Roanoke plans to use to work with the community to raise awareness and help prevent abuse.

Executive director Teresa Berry announced this year’s theme, “I Ask” which builds on the idea that consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions. 

““I Ask” will champion the power of asking- whether it be asking to hold someone’s hand, for permission to share personal information with others or if a partner is interested in sex. It will also highlight the importance of listening to and accepting the answer without pressuring someone to change their mind,” SARA said in a release.

Roanoke City Police Chief Tim Jones talked to 10 News about the importance of community awareness regarding sexual violence.

“I think that's the important piece of this equation is working together, keeping folks informed, recognizing that individuals are vulnerable and what can we do collectively to minimize or aid when those circumstances, all to unfortunately take place,” Jones said.

SARA Roanoke is working with a number of projects and organizations to bring several events throughout the campaign as well as promoting the campaign with the #30DaysofSAAM Instagram challenge, “I Ask” SAAM T-shirts, and “I Ask for Consent” coffee sleeves in partnership with Downshift – Hand Crafted Bikes & Brews and Little Green Hive to spread awareness about the importance of consent.

SAAM campaign events

  • Yoga for EveryBody – April 4, 9, 15, and 24, 12 -1 p.m: SARA Director of Crisis Services Laura Guilliams will facilitate free, all-levels, pop-up yoga classes at the SARA office as part of the SAAM campaign’s promotion of self-care. Space is limited and registration is required.
  • Kindness Rocks for Awareness – Wednesday, April 17, 11– 1 p.m.: Partnering with the Roanoke Kindness Art Project, participants will be painting kindness rocks with messages of hope, awareness, and support to take home, add to the SARA Roanoke rock garden, or place around town. This event is free and open to the public at the SARA office.
  • #MeToo: Even If My Voice Shakes – Tuesday, April 23, 7– 9:30 p.m.: In collaboration with Hoot & Holler: Our Stories Out Loud and 5 Points Music Sanctuary, SARA Roanoke presents an evening with powerful stories of survival and healing. General admission tickets are $15 and all proceeds go to SARA Roanoke.

For more information about the SARA Roanoke SAAM 2019 Campaign, visit it's website. 

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