Briar Van | Staff Writer
On April 2 UVU hosted a child sexual abuse and sexual assault seminar at Centre Stage. The Provo Police Department and Utah County Sheriff’s Office partnered with UVU’s Criminal Justice Department to sponsor the free seminar.
April is Sexual Violence Awareness Month and the seminar was held to create awareness about sexual abuse in children and adults. Law enforcement officers, attorney personnel and workers for the Center for Women and Children in Crisis were among the attendees.
The presenters ranged from victim survivors to Utah County prosecutors
“Be smart about your own safety. Travel in groups, carry a phone, and be aware of your surroundings. Women if you don’t want something, freak out. Let them know it’s not ok and before you get into a situation, know what you’re going to do,” said Detective Chet Whatcott in the Special Victims Unit in the Provo Police Department.
In 1984 the Center for Women and Children in Crisis opened and all their services are free and confidential. The services offered at the center include a crisis team for emotional support, replacement clothing and financial aid, educational support classes, information about different issues, referrals to places that can help victims. The educational support classes are held every Wednesday at 6pm in their offices at 1433 E 840 N in Orem. The center for women and children strives to make victims feel safe and like they are a priority.
“In Utah alone 1 in 3 women will report being a victim of sexual violence in their lifetime while 1 in 8 report being raped,” said Sariah Collard, rape crisis coordinator at the Center for Women and Children in Crisis.
UVU senior Troy Maki was at the seminar to sell pinwheels as part of a project in the Criminal Justice Department. The pinwheels are a way to promote a healthy start for all children, by reminding adults of childlike notions. All children deserve the chance to be healthy, happy and safe. Pinwheels for Prevention has a base in Salt Lake.
The seminar ended with Mindy Woodhouse of the Center for Women and Children in Crisis talking about the impact of sexual assault, sleep problems, depression, among other long-term effects. Sexual abuse is real and the victims are not to blame. There are many resources available to victims of abuse, and ways to create a safer environment.