By Cheril Vernon
Messenger Copy Editor
LUFKIN – Throughout the month of April, the Janelle Grum Family Crisis Center of East Texas, will raise public awareness about sexual assault by holding public activities and events in the East Texas area.
The Crisis Center provides services to Houston County, as well as eight other counties: Angelina, Nacogdoches, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby and Trinity counties.
“The Janelle Grum Family Crisis Center of East Texas is leading the path to end sexual assault and domestic violence in our community. Through education and community awareness, such occurrences can be reduced or prevented by providing emergency crisis and advocacy services,” Family Crisis Center Community Development Director Greta Rich said. “The Family Crisis Center benefits from the support of the Angelina County S.A.V.E. (Sexual Assault Violence Education) Coalition through partnering with them on endeavors to educate the community.”
The Family Crisis Center will host a “Take Back the Night” event at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 3 at the Student Center on the Angelina College campus. Along with a march to “Break the Silence” of sexual assault occurrences on college campuses, the event will include guest speakers and demonstrations.
“We have an active group of students involved in the Angelina County S.A.V.E. Coalition. We also have a coalition housed at the SFA (Stephen F. Austin State University) campus in Nacogdoches that are very active,” Rich said. “We have events planned in both Lufkin and Nacogdoches. It’s a good fit and gives the students another way to get involved.”
The Family Crisis Center and the Angelina County S.A.V.E. Coalition will kick off the month with its annual community-wide event “Prevention in the Park” from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 5 at Louis Bronaugh Park, located in Lufkin across from City Hal. The event will include guest speakers, a free lunch and will end with a “mannequin challenge” which the community is invited to participate in.
“This is our annual kick-off gathering where elected officials will speak. It’s a lot of fun. It’s our way of sharing what we do with the community,” Rich said.
The official 2017 Sexual Assault Awareness Month t-shirts will be available at the events and from the Crisis Center website at www.fccet.com. The t-shirts are $8 for sizes small through extra large and $9 for larger sizes. Besides the Family Crisis Center and Sexual Assault Awareness Month logos, the t-shirts promote the phrase “Engaging New Voices: Use Your Voice to Change the Culture” and the hashtag, #SAAM.
Later in the month, the Family Crisis Center will host a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” mens’ march against violence. Angelina College men will walk in women’s shoes to highlight their support against violence. The march will start at 10:55 a.m. Saturday, April 11 at the Student Center Courtyard on the Angelina College campus.
A self-defense class for women will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 25 in the old gymnasium at the Angelina College campus in Lufkin.
A screening of the award-winning documentary “The Hunting Ground” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26 at Hudgins Hall on the Angelina College campus. This movie tells the story of sexual assault survivors on college campuses.
Denim Day is set for Wednesday, April 26 as part of the nationwide, annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign. Wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a visual symbol of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault. Millions of supporters around the country and globally are expected to participate by wearing jeans on Denim Day this year.
“The campaign was originally triggered in 1999 by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court when a rape convention was overturned. The justices felt that since the 18-year-old rape victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her 45-year-old attacker remove her jeans, thereby implying consent instead of rape,” Rich said. “Since then, millions of people around the world participate in Denim Day as a symbol of protect against sexual assault.”
In addition, the Family Crisis Center is offering a free prevention course to anyone who is interested in preventing sexual assault. The eight-hour course will be broken down to suit the participants’ joint needs. For information, contact Family Crisis Center Primary Prevention Coordinator Jaime West at 936-639-1681 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information regarding Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities occurring in the area, or to find out how to help, contact Greta Rich at 936-639-1681 or email@example.com
The 24-hour 1-800 hotline is 1-800-828-7233.