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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Nationally, April is observed as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) as a way to raise awareness and promote prevention of sexual violence through special events and public education. SAAM creates an opportunity to highlight the Department of Defense (DoD) and Service policies addressing sexual assault prevention and response. 

The DoD theme for SAAM 2008 is "Prevent Sexual Assault: Ask! Act! Intervene!" focusing on every servicemember to prevent sexual assault by taking an active role in looking out for the welfare of friends and co-workers. 

Statistics show that in the United States, a sexual assault occurs every two minutes, according to the National Crime Victimization study (2001). This means that 360 sexual assaults occur each day. Tucson Police Dept reported more than 180 rapes and 41 attempted rapes from January through October 2007. These reports came from throughout the Tucson Area (Arizona Daily Star). 

The NGB started a second phase of awareness training, focusing on bystander intervention. Members are encouraged to get involved if they suspect a sexual assault is about to happen. Leadership needs your help in creating an "empowering climate." As a community, we can become more aware of the issues surrounding sexual violence and agree to honor and uphold an ethos that says "We will not display or tolerate any behavior that even potentially facilitates sexual violence." Training times and locations will be announced via local emails, or interested members may call 295-6568/6102. 

Also in April, the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault is sponsoring its annual Dine Out for Safety event April 16, 2. Dine Out for Safety is the center's signature community outreach and fund raising event. It unites local restaurants, businesses, organizations and individuals in a unique and fun community-wide experience. 

Participating restaurants will generously donate up to 20 percent of their days' proceeds to support the center's mission. These restaurants will be staffed by community hosts, including community leaders and local celebrities, Pan-Hellenic organizations, college athletes, center staff, board members and volunteers. 

In 1997, the center partnered with a single restaurant in its first Dine out for Safety. The event raised $12,000. In 2007, Dine Out for Safety included 35 locally-owned restaurants and raised $80,000. Some participating restaurants this year include: Blanco, Bluefin, Chad's Steakhouse, Cuvée, Feast, Kingfisher, Little Anthony's Diner, Magpies, Roma Café and Wildflower. For a complete listing or more information call 327-1171 or visit http://dineoutforsafety.com

You are encouraged to learn more about the issue of sexual assault and what you can do to prevent it. Visit http://www.sapr.mil or http://www.nsvrc.org/saam/ for more information.