TYLER, Texas (KETK) – On Monday, Tyler Mayor Don Warren declared the month of April Sexual Assault Awareness Month to coincide with the East Texas Crisis Center’s i-annual Hope Awards Ceremony, where was held at Tyler Public Library.
Awards were given to citizens and businesses that the city and East Texas Crisis center felt went above and beyond as volunteers and professionals to help survivors of sexual violence.
There were two recipients: Kim Allen, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner with CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Francis and a Smith County Assistant Attorney accepted an award on behalf of Fei Shelton.
Shelton passed away on Feb. 18 in 2021. She joined the Smith County District Attorney’s office as an assistant district attorney in the fall of 2019. She also worked with the East Texas Crisis Center and advocated for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The event also had guest speaker Hannah Felts, a SANE Nurse at the Children’s Advocacy Center.
The Hope Awards will be held twice a year, once during Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month in April and once in Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
The East Texas Crisis Center has acknowledged Sexual Assault Awareness Month as goal to increase awareness in the community about the nature and prevalence of sexual violence.
“[April is] a month we like to create awareness about what sexual violence is and kind of break those social stigmas,” Cheyenne Jones, Sexual Assault Programs Coordinator said.
2 out 5 women and 1 in 5 men in Texas have been sexually assaulted at least once in their life, according to a release from the East Texas Crisis Center.
In addition to the Hope Awards, other events that will be held throughout the month of April include:
- Day of Action on April 6, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Broadway Square Mall
- At the event people will be able to fill out fliers to give a message to sexual assault survivors
- Wear Teal Day on April 9
- Roll Red Roll Discussion Panel on April 22, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Ornelas Activity Center at UT Tyler
- The discussion will be over the movie on Netflix called “Roll Red Roll”
- Denim Day on April 28th, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Square in Downtown Tyler.
“Denim Day in particular is on the last Wednesday of April that started in Italy. A rape case went all the way to the Italian Supreme Court,” Jones said. “It was ultimately overturned because the Supreme Court said the girls jeans were so tight they couldn’t possibly have removed them without her help, so we like to create awareness about those victim blaming attitudes and educate the population about what sexual violence is.”
The East Texas Crisis Center will also has a social media campaign called Talk About It Tuesdays & Thursdays, where the center will make a post on social media on how sexual violence affects groups of people and what are some statistics that may be important to know.
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