Douglas County scores high in the number of reported sexual assaults among the 72 counties in the state – ranking fifth in the number of reported sexual assaults per capita, according to 2010 data provided from the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance. Nearly 90 percent of Wisconsin sexual assaults reported in 2010 were committed by someone known to the victim. Being that April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, April 25 is the date that the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Assault, Inc. (CASDA), and the UW-Superior Gender Equity Resource Center have set aside for a march to bring publicity to this issue and promote awareness. Other awareness activities include tabling in the YU each day last week to bring up the issue of red flags in dating relationships.
The fourth annual Speak Out Superior march began at 4:30 April 23rd in the parking lot between Burger King and the Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Superior. The march then moved to the Douglas County Courthouse, where Mayor Bruce Hagen, Sen. Bob Jauch, Superior Community Policing Officer Bonnie Beste and Human Development Center “Project Reach Out” Coordinator Jane Larson spoke. There will also be time allocated for members of the march to share their experiences or survivor stories.
There were also free activities for children when they arrive at the courthouse. “New at the courthouse this year is a separate, supervised room for children,” said CASDA Sexual Assault Program Coordinator, Leanne Grbavcich, “where they can enjoy structured, age-appropriate activities that tie in with the Speak Out Superior message.” Speak Out Superior T-shirts are available for purchase from CASDA for seven dollars each or nine dollars each for extra large sizes. Once the march arrived at the courthouse, there was music and food available to participants as well. “Superior Police Detective Michelle Lear will receive our Community Helping Hand Award,” said Grbavcich, “to recognize her tireless work helping victims of domestic and sexual violence in our community.”
The UWS Red Flag Campaign has daily activities for students in the Yellowjacket Union. According to UWS Health Educator Kristy McGiffert, “The Red Flag Campaign is a public awareness campaign designed to address dating violence and promote the prevention of dating violence on college campuses.” The goal is to help people realize the warning signs for dating violence so they can intervene in the lives of their family, friends and co-workers. “At any of our activities this week,” said McGiffert, “students can learn to recognize red flags, relationship rights, relationship responsibilities, and get help in finding support.”
The Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse provides various services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, along with providing housing, counseling and referrals for other services.
For more information about the Speak Out Superior march, you can call CASDA at 715–392-3136, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.casda.org. For more information about the Red Flag Campaign activities, you can contact Kristy McGiffert at email@example.com or by calling 715–394-8543.