First Lady, Lt. Gov. Hampton Honor Prevention Efforts for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
March 31st, 2017
Prevention services, survivors spotlighted at Capitol event
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 30, 2017) – The prevention and advocacy efforts of several individuals were honored today as part of the kickoff of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The Capitol Rotunda event was co-sponsored by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP).
At the ceremony, Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton read a proclamation signed by Governor Matt Bevin declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Gov. Bevin wrote that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky has higher rates of sexual violence than the national average and “leadership, dedication, and encouragement can be successful in preventing sexual violence and human trafficking in the Commonwealth.”
First Lady Glenna Bevin presented awards to advocates and innovative programs helping survivors and drawing attention to prevention. “The leaders we honor are finding new ways to address the problem of sexual violence,” First Lady Bevin said. “I am proud to stand with this team that is working to put an end to sexual assault. Their accomplishments are not only uplifting survivors, they are saving lives. ”
Lt. Gov. Hampton expressed her appreciation and encouraged those present to continue fighting for what is right.
“It is an honor to stand with you today on behalf of Governor Bevin to not only share a proclamation but also to express my appreciation for the awareness campaigns and prevention efforts across Kentucky as it relates to sexual assault.
Adria Johnson, commissioner of the CHFS Department for Community Based Services, which administers adult protective services across the state, said that her agency’s efforts are stronger through collaboration.
“Our partnerships with KASAP, state and local agencies and community groups help us target our prevention efforts so we can fulfill our mission to protect Kentuckians from sexual assault,” she said. “Talking about sexual assault – like we are now and like our honorees do as part of their own missions — is an important step in the solution.”
KASAP Executive Director Eileen Recktenwald said she’s seen major progress in prevention efforts and community engagement.
“Initiatives to combat sexual violence may include counseling, school- and business-based prevention programs or just a supportive conversation,” she said. “We are much more open about supporting survivors and not accepting high-risk behaviors.”
Recktenwald said one past award winner – the Green Dot Initiative – has gained attention recently through a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Green Dot training is a method invented at the University of Kentucky that teaches a communal method of getting involved in a safe and responsible way when witnessing possible sexual violence or coercion — “bystander” training.
The journal article profiled a five-year study of the project’s influence in 26 Kentucky high schools. In half of the schools, about 15 percent of the students were given Green Dot training, and no students at the other half received training. In the schools that didn’t receive the training, sexual violence — including harassment, stalking and dating violence reported by students — remained steady or went up overall. In schools that received the training, incidents of sexual violence decreased by as much as 50 percent.
Recktenwald said this study shows a great shift in thinking because of Green Dot.
“Green Dot is teaching teenagers to be empowered — to interrupt a risky situation or to say something to a teacher,” she said. “Through training young adults, we are increasing mindset that sexual violence is unacceptable.”
Recktenwald said that family and friends of assault survivors may get help through the state’s network of rape crisis centers, and that greater support from government leaders and community partners are building stronger services.
Also at the Rotunda event, four Kentuckians were recognized for receiving the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Award (SAAMy) for their contributions to end sexual violence. The honorees are:
· Michelle Kuiper, advocate – for her legislative activism and using her voice as a survivor to help others.
· Major John Harvey, Kentucky National Guard – for his work with the KNG Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Programs
· Lt. Carolyn Nunn, Louisville Metro Police Department – for her work with the LMPD serving victims of sexual assault
· Laura Kinney, Women’s Crisis Center – for her 29 years working with the in Northern Kentucky agency
SAAMy Innovative Programs
· Men of PEACC (Prevention, Education and Advocacy on Campus and in the Community) at the University of Louisville
· Hope Harvest at Hope Harbor
· Maysville Faith Collaborative at Women’s Crisis Center
For the fourth year, the Fonetta Elam Award honors excellence in clinical supervision and pays tribute to Elam, who was director of the Prestonsburg Rape Victim Services Program and provided services to domestic violence and sexual assault victims for more than 30 years. Elam died in January 2013. Recktenwald said this award emphasizes the importance of supervised clinical work in the area of victim services and to reward and recognize the effort of exemplary professionals in that field.
Fonetta A. Elam Award
· Amy Cappiccie –– for excellence in clinical supervision
Additionally, Staff Sgt. Gary Bumley was recognized by the Kentucky Army National Guard. He will be receiving the Charles R. Lay Victim Advocate of the Year Award and the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award.
For more information about the sexual assault prevention programs and services and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, please visit http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dpp/violenceprevention.htm or http://www.kasap.org/SAAM.html.