PAVE Highlights Services During Sexual Assault Awareness Month

(Beaver Dam) April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and officials with Dodge County’s only domestic violence shelter are using the occasion to remind victims of the services that are available.  Bobbi Jo Bentz is the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate with PAVE, People Against Violent Environments. Benz says sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact – like assault and rape – but also harassment, catcalling and the non-consensual sharing of private images. While the sharing of such images among minors is especially damaging because of felony child pornography statutes, she says the problem affects adults as well.

Nearly one in five women and one in 67 men in the United States have experienced rape or attempted rape at some point in their lives. Almost 68-percent of rapes go unreported. Bentz says there are a lot of reasons for that including a fear of retaliation, a distrust of law enforcement, shame, and a fear that they will not be believed or even blamed.

PAVE offers services ranging from emergency shelter to counseling and weekly support groups. For those who have been sexually assaulted, the non-profit is there both at the hospital and at criminal trials. There is also a crisis line available by phone or text 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The phone number is 800-775-3785 or text 920-344-0123.

Today is Denim Day. People are encouraged to wear denim today as part of an international protest meant to honor a 16-year-old girl who was raped by her driving instructor in Italy. The conviction was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court which ruled that because the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have been implying consent.