VIDEO: Dallas Raises Sexual Assault Awareness

Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center
City of Dallas honored the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center with a proclamation, recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. | Image by City of Dallas

The City of Dallas commemorated Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month with a special proclamation event to bring attention to the efforts of local groups.

Dallas City Council members gathered at a press conference on April 5 to honor non-profit organizations that work with sexual violence survivors and to discuss the issue at hand.

Council Member Jesse Moreno (District 2) kicked off the event by acknowledging the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (DARCC).

“Your jobs are important to help survivors begin their journeys to healing,” he said. “While my colleagues and I work on policy to help on a macro level, you are the boots on the ground helping our constituents of Dallas overcome their trauma of being sexually assaulted.”

“We’ve talked a lot about policy today, but I know there are people who may be listening out there who are experiencing sexual assault themselves,” he continued. “I want to let you know that I see you, and I hear you. … You are not alone, and we will fight this battle together.”

Amy Jones, CEO of DARCC, presented jarring statistics at the event.

“The National Crime Victimization survey tells us that in this country, every 68 seconds someone is sexually assaulted, and every nine minutes one of those individuals is a child,” she said, calling sexual violence an epidemic that nearly every single American has been impacted by in some form.

“Us survivors, we’re everywhere,” she said.

DARCC was founded in 2010 and is currently the only independent rape crisis center in Dallas County. The organization provides services free of charge to individuals who have been impacted by sexual violence.

Since its creation, DARCC has trained over a thousand volunteers and answered 20,000 crisis calls. Jones reported that the team has worked with over 150,000 individuals over the past 14 years.

“Survivors, as you’re out there, I want you to know we believe you,” said Jones. “We believe that what has happened in your life does not define you.”

The event also looked at what local law enforcement is doing to reduce the number of sexual assaults happening in Dallas.

Catrina Shead, assistant chief of police of the Dallas Police Department, spotlighted a recent program the department launched in conjunction with Parkland Hospital, which was reported on previously by The Dallas Express.

While officers typically show up to hospitals in person to take statements from sexual assault victims before forensic examination, the new program will allow victims to speak to police by phone.

“The work we do each day is part of our promise to provide help and safety to our survivors,” said Shead. “This program is just one way we strive to do that.”

The phone option was rolled to ensure survivors receive care as quickly as possible, especially given that DPD has struggled with response times due to an ongoing officer shortage. It fields only around 3,000 officers despite a City report previously recommending around 4,000.

Another activity organized by the City for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is a donation drive. Recreation centers in District 2 will be accepting hygiene products, gift cards, clothing, and toiletries for survivors of sexual violence.

In Texas, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime, according to Dallas County. The state also leads the nation in rapes reported, although it ranks No.14 in terms of rate. In 2022, 50 sexual assaults were reported per 100,000 inhabitants, which is still above the national average of 40.

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