For immediate release by:                                                          
Lester Jones, Director-Health Officer                    
Middlesex County Office of Health Services     
April 2, 2013                                      

John Dowd, Health Educator Risk Communicator
Middlesex County Office of Health Services

Middlesex County To Proclaim April as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month;”
To Rename Rape Crisis Intervention Center

The Board also will recognize the County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences for helping raise awareness of sexual violence  

The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders will proclaim April as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” (SAAM) at its regular meeting on April 4.  The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to teach communities and individuals how to prevent sexual violence. 

The Middlesex County Office of Health Services’ Health Education Division, the Rape Crisis Intervention Center, and the Middlesex County Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition have come together with the support of the Board of Chosen Freeholders to join the efforts of national, state, and local partners to educate the community about what can be done to prevent sexual assault and how to support survivors.  

Freeholder H. James Polos, Chairperson of the County’s Public Safety and Health Committee, said: “It is important for all people to become more aware of this issue, work to prevent sexual violence of any kind, and empower survivors by becoming educated about the importance and impact of this public health concern.” 

Additionally at the April 4 meeting, the Board will announce a new name for the County’s Rape Crisis Intervention Center that better reflects all that is being done to ensure survivors receive the support they need and deserve, Polos said.

The Board also will recognize the Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences for partnering with the County Health Services Office to pilot the “Gender, Race and Sexuality: How Media Shapes Our Culture” program.

This program is a part of a statewide effort to develop and implement primary prevention programming that will effectively change societal attitudes and behaviors that support a culture of violence.

“We are grateful to our partners throughout Middlesex County who serve on our Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition and are helping us to move the County’s sexual violence prevention plan forward,” said Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “Integrating this curriculum into the Middlesex County school system is a significant step toward the elimination of sexual violence.” 

The following County and partner events have been scheduled in observance of “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”

April 5 and every Friday throughout the month: Information about available services, awareness events and prevention efforts will be available in the Middlesex County Administration Building lobby, 75 Bayard Street, New Brunswick. 

April 17: The Middlesex County Rape Crisis Intervention Center’s Clothesline Project, a testimonial display of survivor-created shirts displayed upon a clothesline to honor survivors, aid them in their healing through artistic expression and raise awareness, will be displayed at Middlesex County College in the Main Lounge at the College Center, 2600 Woodbridge Ave., Edison, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

April 26: Middlesex County will recognize Denim Day by permitting County employees to wear denim to raise awareness of sexual violence. 

For more information about sexual violence, Middlesex County’s prevention efforts, available services or Sexual Assault Awareness Month events, call 1-877-665-7273. 

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