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Dear Editor:

Voices have power. Share yours and make a difference.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Embrace Your Voice.” For some people, this could mean using your voice to convey support and belief to victims and survivors, speaking up against rape culture and myths around sexual violence, or speaking to inspire and empower others. For other people, “Embracing Your Voice,” might mean talking about and promoting consent and healthy communication to the children in your lives.

Remember, your voice matters in the public conversation about sexual and gender based violence. You can do your part by not participating in and addressing demeaning and inappropriate comments or jokes. Don’t silently or actively engage in victim blaming or shaming. Be a role model for family members and friends by understanding that the words you use do matter and influence others. Promote conversations around consent, healthy sexuality and relationships. Voices have power. Use yours for good!

Then, think beyond April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Realize that in order for real and lasting change in attitudes and behaviors to come about, you need to continue to be mindful of what you post and say online, hold those accountable who commit acts of aggression and violence towards others, be an active bystander when safe and possible, and most importantly, use your voice to engage in conversations that promote equality, inclusivity, and respect.

Commit to making a difference. Today and every day.

YWCA Carlisle Staff

Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Services of Cumberland County Staff

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