Category Archives: Topic of the Month

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Denim Day is April 29th, 2015: Join us for a Sexual Assault Awareness Walk!

Want to show support for survivors of rape and sexual assault in a unique way during Sexual Assault Awareness Month? Join us in recognizing Denim Day on Wednesday, April 29th by taking part in a Sexual Assault Awareness Walk around the court square in uptown Shelby! Here’s the who, what, when, where, and why?

Who can celebrate Denim Day?: Anyone can! Just choose to wear jeans or something denim on Wednesday, April 29th!

What are we doing? We are asking residents of Cleveland County to join us in walking 1,950 laps around the court square! Why 1,950? That’s how many reported incidents of sexual assault there were in North Carolina during the last year for which we have statistics.

When is the walk?: April 29th, 2015 from 11am until 2pm. You can come at anytime during those 3 hours, though! Stop by with your coworkers on your lunch break or drop in while you are out running an errand!

Where is is it?: It’s on the old court square in uptown Shelby! We’ll be starting from the corner of Warren and Lafayette St.

Why participate in the Sexual Assault Awareness Walk?: Because it’s a way to show your support for survivors of rape and sexual assault while also taking a stand against victim blaming attitudes! Please join us and advocates all around the world on April 29th, 2015 as we wear our jeans and other denim clothing items proudly to show support for victims and survivors and to take a stand (and a walk!)

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Moving beyond asking, “Why does she stay?”

     Recently a newspaper in a neighboring county reported on a severe domestic violence incident which included charges for assault by strangulation, assault inflicting serious injury with a minor present, cruelty to animals, and communicating threats.  While the incident is recent and evidence is still being collected, I’ve noticed that while most commentators on the story have focused on the tragedy of the crime, sympathy for the child, and the cruelty shown to a defenseless animal, some commentators have chosen to focus on blaming the victim.  “Don’t these women ever learn?” one commentator wrote.  “They need to lock her [the victim] up for stupidity”, another posted.  Domestic violence is tragic and far too prevalent, affecting around 1 in 4 women.  It is neither rare nor endemic to any particular group, but it most certainly is a crime.  To question a victim’s intelligence shows a lack of understanding of what the victim is experiencing and puts the blame on the victim.  Why does she say? Here are a few questions we should ask ourselves:

     Who earns the money?  If the abusive partner in the relationship is the primary earner, this can make leaving difficult.  Who owns the home?  If the victim leaves, where can she go?  People question why a victim pleads with a judge to drop charges.  What happens if the abuser goes to jail and loses his job? Where is health insurance going to come from?  Rent money? Food? Let’s explore this further; how has he threatened her in the past if she ever leaves?  Abusers rarely stay in jail long, even if the victim fully cooperates with law enforcement. She knows he’ll be released at some point and due to everything she has experienced, she is probably much more afraid of him than of law enforcement or the court system.  The most dangerous time for a victim is when she chooses to leave her abuser, and it’s never a choice made lightly.  Domestic violence is about power and control and when the abuser feels like he has lost control over his victim, he may use his power in violent, lethal ways to regain that control over the victim.

     It makes us feel safer, like our world is more rational and comprehendible, when we believe a victim in an abusive relationship can simply walk away.  Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.  Leaving a violent relationship is a process that can take years and requires great courage from the victim throughout.  Instead of asking the question “Why does she stay?” can we instead ask the question, “Why does he abuse and how does he get away with it?”  Let’s put the blame squarely on the shoulders of perpetrators of relationship violence and work to find ways that our justice system and communities can cooperate to ensure that we hold offenders accountable for their actions.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, rape, or sexual assault, please contact our 24 hour crisis line at 704-481-0043 for support and information, or visit us online at http://www.apcouncil.wordpress.com.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month!

Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April kicks off the Cleveland County Abuse Prevention Council’s awareness campaign (with the addition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October). This year, APC’s campaign is NO MORE! APC wants to help Cleveland County say NO MORE to sexual assault in four main ways:

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The Violence Against Women Act 2013

On March 7th, President Obama signed the Reauthorization of The Violence Against Women Act (S.47) into a law. The Violence Against Women Act(VAWA) was first authorized in 1994, and created funds and an atmosphere for change around the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. For the first time the judicial system, law enforcement, health care, and domestic violence/sexual assault centers were able to come together and create a coordinated response to the growing epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assault. Fast forward seventeen years to 2010 when congress allowed VAWA to expire which caused programs to suffer and put victim services in jeopardy.

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Cyber Sexual Harassment in Dating Relationships

The month of February is nationally recognized as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. When it comes to teen dating violence and sexual abuse within dating relationships, technology can be a often used tool in dating abuse. Sexual harassment after a bitter breakup has always existed in the schools but now post-breakup sexual harassment has jumped the physical barrier and has become an epidemic on social media websites. This harassment goes by multiple names: cyber bullying, social sexual shaming, cyber gender harassment, and even terms as graphic and demeaning as “revenge porn.”

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