Proclamation

South Boston Mayor Ed Owens signs a proclamation recognizing April as National Sexual Assault and Awareness and Prevention Month alongside Sheriff Fred S. Clark, South Boston Police Chief Jim Binner, Halifax Police Chief Stuart Comer, Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Q. Martin, Tri-County Community Action Agency’s Executive Director Petrina Carter, Kim Carson, domestic violence program director at Tri-County Community Action Agency, other law enforcement officers and Tri-County Community Action Agency staff.

Sexual assault is something that could affect anyone, but according to Kim Carson, domestic violence program director at Tri-County Community Action Agency (TCCAA), it mostly affects children, teens and young women.

It’s a “toxic reality” that TCCAA is fighting against, and on Tuesday, the agency teamed with South Boston Mayor Ed Owens to sign a proclamation urging all to support survivors and to work together to prevent future sexual assaults.

Also attending the signing were Sheriff Fred S. Clark, South Boston Police Chief Jim Binner, Halifax Police Chief Stuart Comer, Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Q. Martin, TCCAA’s Executive Director Petrina Carter, other law enforcement and TCCAA staff.

In bringing awareness to sexual assault awareness and prevention month, Carson is hoping to foster the idea that asking for consent is “healthy, normal and necessary.”

She would like to see healthy relationships full of equality and respect.

Owens said sexual assault is something that must be prevented.

“It’s as important as anything else,” he added.

In reading the proclamation before it was signed, Carson said, “Too many suffer alone in silence,” and she asked that the town of South Boston to recommit to fighting against this “toxic reality.”

With his pen in hand, Owens said he would “proudly” sign the proclamation.

In conjunction with National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, Tri-County Community Action Agency is hosting wear denim day on April 24.

According to Carson, wearing jeans was an idea that came from an Italian Supreme Court ruling where a rape conviction was overturned, because the judge said since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she had to have help to remove them, thereby implying consent.

The following day of the ruling, women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.

“Let’s talk sex, love and lies” will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 27 at American Legion Post 8 in South Boston, an event to help raise awareness about sexual violence and to educate the community on how to get help.

The forum will offer a chance to discuss the sexual allegations against R&B singer R. Kelly and participate in workshops.

Rock painting, food, games and door prizes also will be available.

For more information on that event, call 434-404-3455.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com