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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in NY


The month of April is being recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in New York State. Coinciding with a proclamation issued by the Governor, the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) announced it will host the New York State Denim Day Exhibit in partnership with the Office of General Services (OGS), and launch its “Dating in the Digital” social media campaign focused on safe online dating habits that promote awareness around AI and online blackmail. Additionally, OPDV announced weekly “Sexual Violence 101” awareness trainings.

“The fight against sexual assault requires us to recognize the gravity of these issues and the collective responsibility to create environments that make survivors feel safe,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “As we mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, we must continue to support survivors across New York State and encourage them to use their voices to bring these issues to light.”

International Denim Day was established following a court ruling over 25 years ago, in which the attacker of an 18-year-old was able to overturn his conviction by claiming he would not have been able to remove her jeans without her assistance. The verdict sparked worldwide protests, with women around the world wearing denim jeans in solidarity with survivors. The New York State Denim Day Exhibit will be available for viewing in the Empire State Plaza Concourse from April 23 to April 25.

OPDV will also launch the “Dating in the Digital” social media campaign, which includes special social media profile filters people can download and share to show their support for survivors and educate others in the community on sexual exploitation and violence in the digital world. Each filter highlights a different form of abuse. The filters will be available on OPDV’s website for download throughout April and beyond. More information on the filters and a tutorial on how they can be uploaded can be found here.

Finally, OPDV will also host ‘Sexual Violence 101’, a weekly hour-long virtual training course for staff, supervisors, and administrators working in local social service districts, private nonprofit agencies, municipalities, etc. who help survivors of gender-based and sexual violence. This web-based training is a basic introduction to gender-based and sexual violence, including definitions, defining consent, and statistics.

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