PARKERSBURG — Staff and volunteers at the Family Crisis Response Center hope to raise awareness about sexual assault this month through events, online outreach and ribbon presentations.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Teresa Smith, Sexual Assault Response Advocate with the FCIC, said the idea was to let the community know about the resources, organizations and support available to them. .
“There are resources they can contact so they don’t feel alone. People need to start talking about it and start talking about prevention,” said Smith. “I’m really passionate about raising awareness. Many people in the community are unaware that there is a domestic violence and rape care center here in Parkersburg.
Members of the FCIC will be using social media to launch a few campaigns that encourage people to talk about their experiences and speak up if they see something dangerous happening.
“We are running a campaign called ‘I don’t owe you anything. We are going to ask people to take their picture with a sign and they can share their experience of how they feel. It’s actually a campaign that comes from Canada,” said Smith.
With this campaign, Smith said people are declaring that people don’t owe anyone anything. She took the example of “I don’t owe you anything because you bought me dinner.”
The other campaign revolves around a “spectator.” Smith said there are two types of bystanders: those who stand by and allow something to happen and those who intervene. She also said understanding consent is an important aspect of sexual assault prevention.
“A lot of things are misinterpreted. A lot of people (consent happens) if they go on a date or if they said ‘yes’ yesterday”, Black-smith.
On Monday morning, community members involved with the FCIC placed teal ribbons around downtown Parkersburg that represent sexual assault awareness. Each ribbon has a label with information on how people can get help.
Later this month, the Hope Help Heal event will be held at City Park to bring community members together with non-profit groups, law enforcement and first responders to distribute materials. information on local services available. It will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 30.
Smith said there are several options available to anyone who wants to get involved with the FCIC. She said volunteers are always needed and she encourages people to share resources and information on social media.
For more information about FCIC and its services, visit fcichaven.org or call (304) 428-2333.
Candice Black can be contacted at [email protected]