It’s time to talk about it

EDITOR’S NOTE: In observance of National Crime Victims Rights Week, the Daily Press will be publishing articles throughout the week authored by agencies which support the victims of crime locally. Today’s column is by Tamie Cunningham, director of Tri-County Safe Harbor.

– – –

ESCANABA – Crime Victims Rights Week is April 21-27, 2013. Tri-County Safe Harbor, Inc. partners with other victim service agencies in the community to promote victims rights, honor crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf.

The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. This year’s theme is It’s time to talk about it! Talk early, talk often. Prevent sexual violence. The 2013 campaign focuses on healthy sexuality and child sexual abuse prevention. This April, join the conversation. Start talking about healthy childhood development to prevent child sexual abuse.

Tri-County Safe Harbor, Inc. provides services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in Delta, Schoolcraft and Menominee counties. Our goal is to raise public awareness and to educate individuals on how to prevent domestic and sexual violence. Last year our organization helped over 370 individuals in crisis, answered 1,323 crisis calls and provided 1,585 bed nights.

Each day, people witness behaviors that range from verbal abuse, to being sexually or physically violent.

It’s difficult to speak up. You don’t know what the right thing is to do. What if it’s not safe? Try to approach the situation as if it involved a family member or friend. Would you want someone to help your family member or friend if they were being abused in any way?

If you think someone is in trouble, go help them. Ask if they are ok and encourage them to talk to people who provide help, guidance and support. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching a situation on your own, ask a friend, co-worker, anyone for help. Call 911 if you believe law enforcement needs to be involved.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence, please call 789-1166, 1-800-682-1649 or text message only line 906-241-0690. Safe Harbor can help you. We offer a 24-hour crisis line, emergency safe housing, counseling, personal protection orders, therapy, support groups, advocacy, community education, information and referrals.