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    HomeNewsWest Hollywood Recognizes April as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

    West Hollywood Recognizes April as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

    The City of West Hollywood joins communities around the world to recognize National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in April. Community members can amplify the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month message by using the hashtags #DenimDay, #OnlyYes and #Consent.

    The City encourages community members to wear jeans on Denim Day, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. Denim Day is an internationally recognized day to raise awareness about rape and sexual assault. It was founded by the nonprofit organization Peace Over Violence following a 1999 court ruling in Italy in which a rape conviction case was overturned with the argument that, because the victim had been wearing tight jeans at the time of the assault, she must have been expressing consent. Each year, City staff members and public safety partners from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station recognize Denim Day by wearing denim and participating in a group photo to raise awareness. Denim Day recognition is organized each year by the City’s Community Safety Department in the spirit of uniting against sexual assault, to break the silence about sexual violence, and to stand up in support of survivors.

    The City of West Hollywood is continuing its work to raise awareness about sexual assault and consent with its Only Yes Means Yes campaign. First launched in 2016, the #OnlyYes campaign was expanded in 2021 with additional focused outreach, graphics, and messaging in and around nightlife establishments.

    The City will host an outreach event to encourage people to be more aware of sexual assault, to promote a message of consent with its Only Yes Means Yes public awareness campaign and to distribute drink-spiking test strips that are designed to detect the possible presence of “date rape” drugs, such as GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) or ketamine. The test-strip user drops a small amount of drink liquid on the testing patch, which turns dark blue if drugs are present.

    The outreach event will be held on Friday, April 26, 2024 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at various nightlife establishments in the City’s Rainbow District and along the Sunset Strip. Participants will include members of the West Hollywood City Council; the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station; Block by Block Security Ambassadors; the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s WeHo Life program; members of the City of West Hollywood’s Women’s Advisory Board, and additional City public officials and City staff members. Participants will pass out awareness and prevention materials at various nightlife locations in the city. More information is available on the City’s calendar.

    Sexual assault awareness and prevention information and resources will be distributed throughout the month of April at various City events and meetings, including the City of West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference & Network Mini-Film Festival: The Rising of Women’s Voices, to be held on Saturday, April 20, 2024 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The Mini-Film Festival will feature shorts by women filmmakers and commemorate the City’s annual participation in the global anti-violence campaign One Billion Rising, founded by the playwright Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues) in 2012 that began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. Admission is free. For tickets go to https://wlcnfilmfest24.eventbrite.com.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in five women in America experiences a rape or attempted rape, and nearly 44% of women and 25% of men experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Within the LGBTQ community, approximately one in eight lesbian women (13%) and nearly half of bisexual women (46%), have been raped in their lifetime; four in 10 gay men (40%), and nearly half of bisexual men (47%) have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime. In addition, having multiple disabilities can increase a person’s risk of rape and sexual assault. Women with disabilities are twice as likely to suffer assault and rape, and children with mental health or intellectual disabilities are almost five times more likely to experience sexual abuse. According to a 2015 U.S. Trans Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, approximately 47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

    The City of West Hollywood has a range of ongoing efforts in place to assist in creating and maintaining a safe environment in nightlife business establishments that serve alcohol. The City of West Hollywood became the first city in California to pass an Ordinance, in late 2021, to require Bystander Intervention training for personnel in business establishments that serve alcohol for onsite consumption. The training program began in March 2022; training is provided by the Rape Treatment Center (RTC) at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center and provides an educational course that addresses the issue of drug-facilitated sexual assaults and date rape drugs. The training also promotes the proactive role that onsite alcoholic beverage sales establishments can take in the prevention of sexual assaults. To date, more than 2,200 employees have taken part in this training.

    For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s Bystander Intervention training program for establishments that serve alcohol for onsite consumption, please contact Danny Rivas, the City of West Hollywood’s Director of Community Safety at (323) 848-6424 or at [email protected].

    The City in partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s WeHo Life program, distributes drink-spiking test strips to West Hollywood nightlife establishments. Outreach staff from the WeHo Life program began test-strip distribution efforts in October 2022 to inform and educate community members and businesses that drink-spiking test strips are a tool for personal safety that can be used anywhere at any time. To date, approximately 35,000 drink-spiking test strips have been distributed to 39 participating local businesses and organizations in the City of West Hollywood.

    The City and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station urge anyone who believes they are a victim of any crime – or anyone in the community with any public safety concerns – to reach out to the Sheriff’s Station 24/7 at (310) 855-8850. In an emergency, always call 911.

    The City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety website area provides personal safety tips for nightlife safety and sexual assault prevention and resources; please visit: https://www.weho.org/city-government/city-departments/community-safety/public-safety/crime-prevention-and-personal-safety-tips/sexual-assault-prevention-night-club-safety.

    If you or someone you care about has been a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or intimate partner stalking, there are resources to help.

    The Los Angeles County Rape and Battering Hotline, Peace Over Violence, a confidential non-judgmental resource where emotional support, advocacy, information, and referrals are available, can be reached 24-hours-a-day by contacting (213) 626-3393 or (310) 392-8381 or at www.peaceoverviolence.org.

    The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s STOP Violence Program works to increase access to mental health and supportive services for LGBTQ survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and intimate partner abuse. Call (323) 860-5806 or email [email protected].

    The Jewish Family Service’s Family Violence Program provides confidential 24-hour crisis lines for victims of abuse by contacting (310) 858-9344 (English/Spanish); (818) 464-2864 (Farsi) and (310) 858-9344 (Jewish Orthodox).

    The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), organizes the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline, a referral service that can put you in contact with your local rape crisis center. The hotline can be reached 24 hours a day at (800) 656-4673, or access RAINN’s chat feature for help at www.rainn.org.

    The Rape Treatment Center (RTC) at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center provides free comprehensive treatment for sexual assault victims and their families, including 24-hour emergency medical care, forensic examinations and crisis counseling. The RTC can be reached 24 hours a day at (424) 259-7208 or at uclahealth.org/medical-services/rtc.

    The City of West Hollywood provides a variety of helpful tips on its website regarding safety and prevention. To find out more, please visit www.weho.org/publicsafety.

     

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