Oskaloosa, New Sharon and Beacon are joining communities around the country in commemorating April as Sexual assault Awareness Month. Crisis Intervention Services, the comprehensive sexual assault services provider for Mahaska County, has worked to commemorate the month through proclamations, distribution of awareness materials, partnerships with area schools and a fundraiser. Mayor David Krutzfeldt, of Oskaloosa, Mayor Dustin Hite, of New Sharon, and Mayor Jim Hughes, of Beacon, all signed proclamations in observance of SAAM.
The Oskaloosa Public Library and William Penn University promoted awareness by allowing teal cloth ribbons to be tied around trees on their properties during April. William Penn and Breadeaux have both been giving out stickers with CIS contact information and a prevention-themed logo. William Penn partnered with CIS to host a clothesline project addressing the question often asked of sexual assault survivors, “What were you wearing?” Outfits such as jeans and T-shirts, sweats, and pajamas were displayed along with typical survivor stories drawn from CIS advocates’ experiences with sexual assault clients. Oskaloosa Middle School hosted CIS guest speakers during the month to address an assembly for all sixth through eighth-grade boys. They spoke on “Mentors in Violence Prevention,” a bystander intervention approach encouraging youth to address bullying, abuse, and violence among their peers. Crisis Intervention Services has advocates available to help people affected by sexual assault and emergency housing needs 24/7 and can be reached at the following numbers: 800-270-1620 (sexual assault), and 844-673-5499 (housing).