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On April 1, 2019 the Board of Supervisors proclaimed the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Jackson County. Representatives from the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence (GCCFN) and Adrienne's House received the proclamation and reiterated the message of the "Start by Believing" Campaign and statistics included in the proclamation which reads:
Whereas, Jackson County shares a critical concern for victims of sexual violence and a desire to support their needs for justice and healing; and
Whereas, in 2018 the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence served the needs of 186 adult and child victims of sexual assault through rape crisis interventions at hospitals and individual and group counseling sessions; and
Whereas, current estimates suggest as few as 1 in 5 sexual assaults will be reported to law enforcement and less than 3 percent will result in the conviction and incarceration of the perpetrator; and
Whereas, research shows that victims are far more likely to disclose their sexual assault to a friend or family member, and when these loved ones respond with doubt, shame, or blame, victims suffer additional negative effects on their physical and psychological well-being; and
Whereas, the national Start by Believing public awareness campaign is designed to improve the responses of friends, family members, and community professionals, so they can help victims to access supportive resources and engage the criminal justice system; and
Whereas, advocates, professionals, volunteers, and concerned community members will devote the month of April to raising public awareness of the crisis of sexual assault as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, encouraging people across our community to Start by Believing victims of sexual assault;
Now Therefore, the Board of Supervisors does hereby proclaim April 2019 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Jackson County, and in doing so, reaffirms their support for the Start by Believing campaign and a commitment to ending sexual assault within our community.
In the photograph are GCCFN Board Member Celeste Laws, GCCFN Coordinator of Volunteers Charlotte Brown, District 4 Supervisor Troy Ross, Adrienne's House Case Manager Amanda Johns, District 5 Supervisor Randy Bosarge, District 3 Supervisor Ken Taylor, District 2 Supervisor Melton Harris, District 1 Supervisor Barry Cumbest, and Adrienne's House Case Manager Elizabeth Conerly.