Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month to call attention to the impact of sexual violence on communities and individuals across our state.
“North Carolina stands with victims of sexual violence and remains committed to providing safe places, seeking justice, raising awareness and continuing education to prevent future incidents,” Cooper said.
A report issued by the National Sexual Assault Hotline estimates that one in six women and one in 33 men in the United States have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Women aged 16 to 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of sexual violence.
People from marginalized communities and those who hold marginalized identities are at a higher risk of experiencing sexual assault while simultaneously being less likely to gain access to systems of support and healing.
In October 2019, Cooper signed an Executive Directive which allows eligible state employees to use earned leave for “safe days” that enable more flexibility in taking necessary absences from work due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
The governor also signed Senate Bill 199 into law in November 2019, closing long-neglected loopholes in sexual assault laws as well as strengthening enforcement and protection for children who have been abused.
Read the proclamation HERE.