It is a month of much "awareness" with a focus driven on Autism Awareness Month, but what some may not know is it is a month to be aware of another social and emotional issue.
Mary Onama, Victim Services Center of Montgomery County's executive director, said that April is dedicated nationally as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (S.A.A.M.) and Child Abuse Awareness Month.
"Statistics tell us that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will become a victim of sexual violence before they turn 18," said Onama. "In the United States, a person is sexually assaulted every two minutes."
If you think it isn't an issue that "hits home," you'd be quite wrong.
"In Montgomery County, Pennsyvania there are nearly 750 reported cases of child abuse annually," said Onama. "Victim Services Center serves over 250 children every year in its Child Abuse Treatment Program."
VSC’s Prevention Education Department presents programs to preschool and elementary school students on child abuse prevention, middle school students on sexual harassment prevention, and high school and college students on sexual violence prevention, according to a recent release from the organization.
Educational programs and professional trainings are also offered to school staff, parents and community members on child abuse, mandated reporting and sexual violence.
VSC’s Education Department also hosts a number of activities throughout April to help spread awareness and knowledge about risk factors and sexual violence prevention.
"On April 20, VSC will host the second annual Run for S.A.A.M. 5K Run/Walk at Norristown Farm Park in East Norriton," said Onama. "All proceeds from this event will go to sexual violence and child sexual abuse prevention."
Learn more about VSC services, register for Run for S.A.A.M. and other upcoming events on the VSC website, or find VSC on Twitter and Facebook. If you are in crisis you can call our 24-hour hotline at 1-888-521-0983.
Information courtesy of VSC