Posted by Terry Alexander - email
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Governor Kaine is declaring April as Sexual Violence Awareness Month, bringing attention to an issue that affects more victims than one may think.
Just one week ago a woman came forward, telling police she had been sexually assaulted on her way home in the Fan. The community is nervous and is still on high alert. All too often though, these crime are unreported.
"Its shrouded in silence historically and we all need to do our part to eliminate this violence in our communities," said Sexual Violence Advocacy Manager Kristine Hall.
Or are committed by someone the victim may know. That's why Friday's message is an important one. The Governor presenting the Virginia Domestic and Sexual Action Alliance with a proclamation declaring April as Sexual Violence Awareness month.
"It became clear to me in my administration although we had done a lot in Virginia dealing with sexual predators, but we had a lot of improvements we needed to make in the way we treat victims," said Governor Kaine.
Friday's declaration comes on the heels of President Obama's announcement of April as Sexual Awareness Month. This national movement is a first in history.
"That's just phenomenal, in terms of our country really recognizing that we've been silent too long and we need to locally statewide, and nationally put resources and efforts into eliminating violence," said Hall.
The proclamation also coincides with signing of House Bill 2400 into law, which mandates the Commonwealth's Attorney to establish and coordinate a community response to sexual assault-from crisis counseling to prosecution.
Advocates against domestic and sexual violence and lawmakers say while the signing of the house bill into law is a big first step, it is by no means the end of the journey.
If you or someone you know is a victim, you can call the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline and Help line at 1-800-838-8238. Someone is available around the clock.