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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Gov. Beshear Proclaims March Sexual Assault Awareness Month; Contributions to violence prevention and education honored

Press Release Date:  Thursday, February 25, 2010  
Contact Information:  Media Contact: Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180, ext. 4014; or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  


Note to producers: To download a Sexual Assault Awareness Month audio public service announcement produced by the CHFS Division of Violence Prevention Resources, please go to http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dvpr/.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 25, 2010) – The work of several individuals and programs was recognized today as part of the kickoff of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Gov. Steve Beshear has signed a proclamation marking March as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Kentucky, and First Lady Jane Beshear gave her support to the prevention efforts by presenting the proclamation at the event.

“Your taking a stand today brings the Commonwealth's attention to the prevalence and devastation of this crime,” Jane Beshear said. “This event spotlights the innovative projects that are helping so many Kentuckians through the healing process.” 

The Capitol Rotunda event was cosponsored by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP).

“The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to raise awareness about sexual violence and to educate individuals about prevention,” said CHFS Secretary Janie Miller. “The programs and people we honor today are making progress toward that prevention, and teaching communities that sexual violence toward anyone is unacceptable.”

Eileen Recktenwald, executive director of KASAP, said the prevention movement is gaining momentum, particularly among groups like the state’s rape crisis centers.

"The rape crisis programs provide a network of service delivery for survivors of sexual assault in Kentucky,” she said. “We are grateful for our partnership with lawmakers and government officials for recognizing the seriousness of this crime.”

The Morehead State University chapter of Kappa Delta sorority was recognized with the Innovative Program Award.

Sorority members have given their time, money and support to the Morehead Sexual Assault Task Force. For seven years, Kappa Delta members have served as dedicated members of the task force and have volunteered for every fund-raiser and awareness event.

In Kentucky, one in nine adult females – more than 175,000 women -- has been forcibly raped. This conservative estimate does not include rape facilitated by alcohol or drugs, attempted rape, statutory rape (sex with someone under age 16 without explicit force) or other forms of sexual violence.

“Sexual assault affects every member of our community,” said Phyllis Millspaugh, a program administrator for the CHFS Division of Violence Prevention Resources. “The effort to end sexual abuse is making a difference, and all individuals need to do is decide to be a part of the solution.”

Millspaugh said prevention can be as simple as having a conversation with a young adult about recognizing and ending violence within their circle of friends.

“By working together and speaking up, we are working to stop the cycle of violence that destroys far too many lives,” she said.

At a Frankfort awards dinner tonight, five people will receive the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Award for their contributions to end sexual violence. The winners, who also were recognized at the rotunda event, are: 

─ Maria Almario, doctoral student, University of Kentucky;
─ Chief Terry Powell, chief of police, Fulton Police Department;
─ Phyllis Konerman, retired director, Women’s Crisis Center, Covington;
─ Jennifer Gay, volunteer, Purchase Area Sexual Assault Center, Paducah; and
─ Scott Napier, Wal-Mart employee, Morehead.

For more information about the sexual assault prevention programs and services and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, please visit http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dvpr/ or www.kasap.org.

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Last Updated 2/25/2010