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WHEREAS, Sexual Assault Awareness Month is intended to draw attention to the fact that sexual violence is widespread and has public health implications for every community member of the Commonwealth of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment impacts our families, homes, communities, schools, and workplaces on a daily basis; and
WHEREAS, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), an American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds; and
WHEREAS, according to a 2018 Annual Report on Domestic and Sexual Violence in Virginia, over 5,700 victims reported enduring the trauma of a forcible sex offence in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2017; and
WHEREAS, we must work together to educate our community about what can be done to prevent sexual assault and how to best support survivors; and
WHEREAS, with leadership, dedication, and encouragement, there is compelling evidence that we can be successful in reducing sexual violence in Virginia through prevention education, increased awareness, and holding perpetrators who commit acts of violence responsible for their actions; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia strongly supports the efforts of national, state, and local partners along with every resident of Virginia to actively engage in public and private efforts, including having conversations about what sexual violence is, how to prevent it, how to help survivors connect with services, and how every segment of our society can work together to better address sexual violence; and
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize April 2021 as SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.