Events planned in SLO County for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Several events will be held in San Luis Obispo this month to raise awareness of sexual assault and help people access needed resources for emotional and physical recovery.

The Sexual Assault Recovery & Prevention Center and North County Women’s Shelter & Resource Center of San Luis Obispo County have planned events to mark April as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”

The 11th Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event will be held April 27 in San Luis Obispo’s Mission Plaza. Information will also be made available at farmer’s markets throughout the county, and numerous businesses are holding fundraisers for the SARP Center.

According to a news release from the organization, 116 sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement in San Luis Obispo County in 2011. However, national statistics show that only 11 percent of rapes are reported to police.

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact from another individual, including rape, fondling, sexual harassment and stalking.

Last year, the SARP Center provided 425 crisis interventions to victims and their significant others; accompanied 84 survivors to medical exams, law enforcement interviews and court appearances; provided individual and group therapy to 158 clients; gave presentations to more than 2,700 students and county residents; and held self-defense workshops serving 358 participants.

The SARP Center and the North County Women’s Shelter merged into a new organization in January to serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. They provide a 24-hour crisis line, case management, restraining order assistance, two safe houses and counseling services.

For more information visit http://www.sarpcenter.org or http://www.ncwomensshelter.org.