YCPD amplifies Sexual Assault Awareness Month with events, teal badges
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) doesn’t go unnoticed at Yavapai College. In fact, every April the Yavapai College Police Department helps amplify efforts to heighten awareness of the crime, of support initiatives for victims and community collaborations aimed at prevention and justice.
This April was no different. YCPD officers are wearing teal patches and badges for awareness all month long. They hosted an event on Start By Believing Day April 6, signaling solidarity with a growing national movement aimed at easing survivor suffering. And, they sponsored a “NO MORE” sexual violence prevention gathering April 13.
“Our goal is to create a safe and educational environment for our campus and community members and to show support for survivors,” said YCPD Chief Tyran Payne. “And while April is the month designated to do all we can to increase awareness of sexual assault and its victims, we support and offer resources for sexual assault and abuse survivors every second of our watch.”
The “NO MORE” event earlier this month on the Prescott campus brought together law enforcement and social-service agencies from across Yavapai County that work together to assist victims and ensure justice is served.
Missy Sikara, director of the Yavapai Family Advocacy Center, told NO MORE event attendees a strong community network exists to support victims who “deserve to have as many people as possible in their corner when they’re going through something like this.”
In her remarks during the event, Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Sue Eazer, identified individual and collective actions to aid in the NO MORE campaign. First, she said, “we have to lose our expectations of what a victim would do when being sexually assaulted.” Next, “we have to lose the shame and stigma around sexual assault.” And, she said, antiquated notions like victims “had it coming” by putting themselves at risk need to be replaced with the assertion that nobody deserves to be sexually assaulted.
“We all have to work hard, not just among ourselves, to believe this,” Eazer said, adding that more compassion and support and less re-traumatization is needed to ensure victims come forward to get the help they need to lesson their lifelong trauma.
James Tobin, a former YCPD Sergeant who now leads YC’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention program, told the NO MORE gathering that area agencies are making inroads in the fight to end sexual violence by collaborating. “The way we solve problems in our communities starts in rooms like this when like-minded people get together.”