By Tim Kowols
Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski knows the number of sexual assault reports may be up, but credits local organizations like the Violence Intervention Project for making the conversation more mainstream. Upcoming events like the Hands Around ceremony on April 24 and International Denim Day on April 25 have helped raise awareness to the issues concerning sexual assault while releasing victims from the stigma of reporting such crimes. Joski would rather see nobody get sexually assaulted but is encouraged by victim’s willingness to report them.
The State of Wisconsin has designated April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. You can read more from Joski’s Sheriff’s Corner including more information on upcoming events organized by VIP and other organizations online with this story.
FROM SHERIFF MATT JOSKI:
The month of April is designated in the State of Wisconsin as Sexual Assault Awareness month. For those who have been impacted by the brutality of these senseless acts the pain and suffering never truly vanishes. Historically the victimization of these crimes did not end with the act itself but unfortunately were further perpetrated by a culture of secrecy and transferred blame on the part of those who were attacked rather than the attacker. For many years these crimes were minimized or even justified based on the condition of the victim or even in some cases the very clothing that they were wearing at the time of the attack.
Fortunately those days are over and we as a society have come to recognize the severity of sexual assault for what it is. We have striven to provide the greatest possible support for the victims while working towards the most severe level of accountability for the perpetrators. We have opened channels of communication to those who have had to live in the shadows of victimization allowing their voices to finally be heard. One of the organizations that have been instrumental in this transformation is our own Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project. Having personally worked alongside these amazing advocates for change, I can attest to both their courage and their dedication in the area of victim support and community awareness.
During this month of April there will be events held to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault and to the many that have been and continue to be impacted. On Tuesday April 24th there will be the 2nd annual “Hands Around” event. It will be held at the Kewaunee County Human Services Building and will begin at 3:30 pm. This event is intended to bring attention to not only sexual assault victims but those affected by child abuse as well.
On Weds. April 25th we will be recognizing International Denim Day. This event began as a call to action after a court in Italy failed to convict in a sexual assault case due to the fact that the victim was wearing denim pants. It was the opinion at the time that there was consent as no person could have removed the jeans without the assistance of the wearer. That case was later overturned.
On Saturday May 5th at 10:30 am VIP will be offering free self defense classes at the Kewaunee High School. This event is meant to not only teach various techniques in self defense but also to instill a sense of self- confidence. This course is being offered to anyone ages 12 and up.
Please take the time to join in supporting those affected by these senseless acts and bringing a greater awareness to our need as a society to rid our communities of both Sexual Assault and Child Abuse.