Freeholders urge awareness of sexual assault, violence

The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) at its April 4 regular meeting. 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 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.

“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,” Freeholder H. James Polos said. The board also recognized the Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences for partnering with the Middlesex County Health Services Office to pilot the “Gender, Race and Sexuality: How Media Shapes Our Culture” program.

The program is part of a statewide effort to develop and implement primary prevention programming that aims to 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,” Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said. “Integrating this curriculum into the Middlesex County school system is a significant step toward the elimination of sexual violence.”