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Southern Arizona leaders stand with survivors of sexual assault

Sexual Assault Awareness Month event in downtown
Posted at 3:08 PM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 15:42:56-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The issue of sexual assault took center stage in Downtown Tucson on Tuesday. Many who gathered wore the color teal to show they stand with survivors.

"This month we are working on 'The Truth About Teal.' We recognize there are a ton of pervasive, harmful and damaging myths that exist about sexual violence in our community," said Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (SACASA) Director, Katlyn Monje.

Monje said one of the myths is that real victims always report the crime to police. In fact, 2 out of 3 sexual assaults are never reported.

"Without hearing from the voices of survivors, we can't hold the perpetrators accountable," said Tucson Assistant Police Chief, Monica Prieto.

Prieto said the department has taken steps to better prepare officers who respond to incidents of sexual assault.

"It's called trauma informed training," said Prieto. "It provides tools to our younger officers to support and really interact with our survivors."

Tucson Mayor, Regina Romero, declared April to be Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Tucson. It marks the start of a month-long campaign to educate more people about local resources.

"Our goal is not to bring down the cases," said Romero. "Our goal is to extinguish sexual assault in our community."

Putting an end to sexual assault is not the responsibility of just one group.

"We need to come together to make sure that wherever that survivor goes for help, that it's there, that they aren't turned away, that they're believed, that they're supported," said Monje. "We need for them to have multiple avenues to received adequate support, so they can start their healing process."

If you, or someone you know, is a survivor of sexual assault, call the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault's 24-hour crisis line: (520) 327-7273.

Megan Meier is a reporter for KGUN 9. Megan graduated from Arizona State Universityʼs Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications in May 2018. While pursuing her degree in broadcast journalism, Megan interned at the City of Phoenix. Share your story ideas and important issues with Megan by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.