Wayne County Recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Julia Garrison, Contributing Writer

Wayne County Board of Commissioners recognizes the importance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

During the April 5 weekly Wayne County Board of Commissioners meeting, the commissioners issued a proclamation reflecting upon the recognition of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). SAAM has been recognized as a dedicated awareness month nationally since 2009.

The Voice spoke with Response Specialist and Victim Advocate Gayle Byrne, MBA from OneEighty. According to their website, OneEighty serves as Wayne and Holmes counties’ center for assisting individuals with “domestic violence & sexual assault, addiction, rape crisis, mental health, housing and prevention and education services.” Byrne was in attendance representing OneEighty at the Commissioners meeting on Wednesday.

“The Wayne County Commissioners are important local allies in this effort,” says Byrne on their proclamation. “[They] urge residents to take action in the fight against sexual violence – starting with believing and supporting survivors.” OneEighty shared an entire calendar of events happening during the month of April with The Voice, which included days of remembrance for victims of sexual assault.

Multiple clubs on campus are hosting events to raise money for OneEighty during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Voice spoke to COWBelles club head Jane Wight ’23 about their upcoming a cappella benefit concert for OneEighty. “The OneEighty benefit and relationship that we have formed with [OneEighty] is a very important one,” Wight explained. “We hope to do all we can to raise knowledge and awareness.” COWBelles’ annual benefit concert will be held on Sunday, April 30 in Gault Recital Hall, and will feature multiple a cappella groups in collaboration.

“Sexual assault is a crime that is highly politicized, and to many, it’s not a point of concern,” explains Amy Falk ’25, the incoming president for Wooster’s Sexual Respect Coalition (SRC), another organization that is working to raise awareness about sexual assault through events on campus. Falk echoed Byrne’s sentiments of raising awareness, adding that the Commissioners’ recognition of SAAM will “go a long way towards legitimizing the fight against sexual assault in Wooster.” The SRC will host Take Back the Night on April 20, the organization’s annual vigil for sexual assault. A representative from OneEighty and Wooster’s Director of Prevention and Advocacy Emily Hiner will speak at the event. The event also serves as an opportunity for survivors to share their stories in a “safe, confidential space.” Scots in Harmony, another one of Wooster’s a cappella groups, will also perform at the event, showcasing their set-list of songs which all focus on the theme of dating and domestic violence. The SRC will also be observing Denim Day on April 26 and tabling outside of Lowry.

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