Easter is only a day away, and with Holy Week fully underway the President has decided to do something that most people will be surprised by. But nonetheless, it is good news. President Trump officially announced through a press statement that April 2018 is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
The press release is titled “President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 2018 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month” and reads as follows,
“During National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we remain steadfast in our efforts to stop crimes of sexual violence, provide care for victims, enforce the law, prosecute offenders, and raise awareness about the many forms of sexual assault. We must continue our work to eliminate sexual assault from our society and promote safe relationships, homes, and communities.
Sexual assault crimes remain tragically common in our society, and offenders too often evade accountability. These heinous crimes are committed indiscriminately: in intimate relationships, in public spaces, and in the workplace.
We must respond to sexual assault by identifying and holding perpetrators accountable. Too often, however, the victims of assault remain silent. They may fear retribution from their offender, lack faith in the justice system, or have difficulty confronting the pain associated with the traumatic experience. My Administration is committed to raising awareness about sexual assault and to empowering victims to identify perpetrators so that they can be held accountable. We must make it as easy as possible for those who have suffered from sexual assault to alert the authorities and to speak about the experience with their family and friends.
When victims seek help, responses must be carefully tailored to the context in which the sexual assault occurred and the unique needs of each victim. To better assist victims, the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women has developed the Sexual Assault Victim Intervention Services Technical Assistance Center (SAVIS TAC). This new resource will help community officials and organizations appropriately respond to sexual assault by expanding their understanding of the type of support likely to be effective in each unique circumstance. Participants in the SAVIS TAC initiative will use available funds to provide intensive training and resources to service providers. With these resources, service providers, including rape crisis centers and other sexual assault and domestic violence organizations can build organizational and staff capacity for providing comprehensive sexual assault victim intervention services.
Together, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves to doing our part to help stop sexual violence. We must not be afraid to talk about sexual assault and sexual assault prevention with our loved ones, in our communities, and with those who have experienced these tragedies. We must encourage victims to report sexual assault and law enforcement to hold offenders accountable, and we must support victims and survivors unremittingly. Through a concerted effort to better educate ourselves, empower victims, and punish criminals, our Nation will move closer to ending the grief, fear, and suffering caused by sexual assault. The prevention of sexual violence is everyone’s concern.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2018 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. I urge all Americans, families, law enforcement, healthcare providers, community and faith-based organizations, and private organizations to support survivors of sexual assault and work together to prevent these crimes in their communities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.”
The timing is interesting as the House and Senate recently voted on and passed H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017. It is a bipartisan piece of legislation that gives federal, state, and local authorities and prosecutors the ability to hold websites accountable for supporting the sale of sex trafficking victims. H.R. 1865 is expected to be signed by the President soon but has yet to be.
Over the last year the administration as well as the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, in her capacity as a special adviser, have been tirelessly working to bring the modern slave trade to the mainstream media as a topic of consistent conversation. Both Trump’s have met with lawmakers, stakeholders, and actors in the field who are experts on the issue to brainstorm ideas on how to combat this terrible issue.
While many look to the administration and say they are doing nothing on the issue the facts speak for themselves and it is clear they are taking sexual assault, sex trafficking, and modern slavery very seriously. Regardless of what people think of the president and his administration they are taking real positive steps in the right direction on this issue.
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