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Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Don't Be a Bystander

“Bystander Intervention is making a decision to take an action when someone you know (or maybe someone you don’t know) is getting hurt or could possibly be in danger.”

From left: Stamford's Mayor David Martin, Greenwich's Selectman David Theis,  Weston's First Selectman Gayle Weinstein, Westport's Human Services Director Barbara Butler, The Center's Executive Director Ivonne Zucco, Norwalk's Mayor Harry Rilling.
From left: Stamford's Mayor David Martin, Greenwich's Selectman David Theis, Weston's First Selectman Gayle Weinstein, Westport's Human Services Director Barbara Butler, The Center's Executive Director Ivonne Zucco, Norwalk's Mayor Harry Rilling.
"Don't be a bystander" is the idea The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education is asking people to think about this April, which has just been proclaimed Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Several activities and events around the area are planned for April.

The Center recently issued this news release (here slightly changed):


Together with leaders across the nation, eight Mayors and First Selectman -- including those of Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, Weston and Wilton -- have proclaimed April to be  Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).

The proclamations urge all citizens of Lower Fairfield County to support the efforts of The Center and to educate themselves on the issue of sexual assault.

This year, The Center has adopted “Don’t Be a Bystander” as its theme for April. Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling began the event by proclaiming April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Norwalk -- and in all of Lower Fairfield County. 

The Center’s Executive Director Ivonne Zucco, Children’s Connection Director Kari Pesavento and Norwalk Police Detective Timothy Marquis shared their thoughts and perspectives on the issue of sexual assault, the importance of bystander intervention and on the critical role The Center plays in providing counseling, advocacy and education throughout the community. 

This year The Center is using Sexual Assault Awareness Month as a time to highlight Bystander Intervention.

“Bystander Intervention is making a decision to take an action when someone you know (or maybe someone you don’t know) is getting hurt or could possibly be in danger,” Zucco said.

“So many bad situations could be avoided if we followed our instincts and stood up for one another when we see something wrong," she added. "The problem is that many times we want to help, but don’t know how.  The Center offers age-appropriate education programs that teach individuals how to intervene in safe, non-violent ways if they witness harassment or assault.”

The National Center for Victims of Crime reports that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will become a victim of sexual assault by the age of 18. Other startling statistics include:

  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime
  • 20 to 25 percent of college women are raped during their college career
  • Nearly 1 in 5 Connecticut residents (19 percent) has experienced a sexual assault in their lifetime (according to a study by Macro International, Inc. on behalf of CONNSACS and the Connecticut Department of Public Health)

“No one likes to hear about sexual assault, or believe it is happening in their community but it continues to happen to women, men and children right here where we all live,” said Ms. Zucco. 

Among the activities The Center has scheduled to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month are: 

  • At  8 pm, April 5; and 4 p.m. April 6: The Vagina Monologues, Norwalk Carriage House Theater. Tickets $25/person and 90% of proceeds go to The Center.
  • April 8: “Know Before You Go” presentation to students during College Night at Greenwich High School.
  • April 11: Sexual Assault Awareness Event at Staples High School in Westport.
  • April 24:  Raise Your Glass, Raise Awareness:  “Party Like It’s 1979,” celebrating The Center’s 35th Anniversary and honoring Dudley Williams; Stamford Marriot Hotel and Spa, 7 to 10 p.m.
  • April 25: Sexual Assault Awareness tabling event at New Canaan High School.
  • April 25: Zumba at Our Lady Star of the Sea. 6:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Date to be determined: UConn-Stamford:  Where Do You Stand CT? Campaign Bystander Intervention training. A group of students, teachers and administrators at the Stamford Campus of University of Connecticut will gather together to participate in the 1-½ hour training.

About The Center

Serving Lower Fairfield County since 1979, The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education provides free, 24-hour confidential help to women, men and children who have experienced any sexual assault, as well as age-appropriate personal safety classes for children ages 6 – 18.

Services provided by The Center include: 

  • Crisis Counseling and Advocacy:  The Center offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, individual short-term counseling, support groups, and advocacy.  Last  fiscal year (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013), The Center provided free and confidential crisis counseling services to 422 individuals and 517 individuals participating in psycho educational groups (empowerment groups that combine education with counseling support services).
  • Education: The Center’s programs raise awareness about the issue of sexual assault, its prevalence in society, signs of perpetrator behavior, and symptoms of trauma.  They provide individuals with the tools necessary to know what to do if they or someone they know have been affected by this crime.  From July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, we educated 10,317 individuals. This fiscal year we are on track to educate 16,000 individuals!
  • Police and Hospital Programs: The Center is certified by the state to train local police to increase sensitivity to the victim’s needs and emotional state.  In addition, The Center also provides training to Emergency Room professionals at the three hospitals we support (Stamford, Norwalk and Greenwich). 

The Center supports eight town/cities in Lower Fairfield County including Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

For more information on any of the events above, to learn more about The Center or to get involved, contact The Center at 203-348-9346,  HYPERLINK "mailto:info@thecenter-ct.org" info@thecenter-ct.org, or visit The Center's website.

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