Gov. Kathy Hochul on Saturday recognized April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in New York, issuing a proclamation. Coinciding with this proclamation, the State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence will conduct weekly “Sexual Violence 101” training, and collaborate with the state Office of General Services to host an exhibit to honor survivors' experiences and recognize International Denim Day.
"Eradicating sexual assault starts with changing the culture, bringing the gravity of these issues to light, and supporting survivors," Hochul said. "As we mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, we must continue to empower survivors across New York state, encourage them to use their voices to start communitywide discussions, and ultimately hold their abusers accountable."
Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Kelli Owens said, "Sexual violence impacts people from all walks of life. It is imperative that we approach sexual violence from a survivor-centered, trauma-informed and culturally responsive manner. We at OPDV understand the importance of survivors sharing their stories of resiliency and healing, in their own words, at their own time, and are proud to help elevate their voices. Thank you, Gov. Hochul, for proclaiming April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and supporting survivors of sexual assault and all gender-based violence."
OPDV will host “Sexual Violence 101,” an hour-long virtual training course for staff, supervisors, and administrators working in local districts, private nonprofit agencies, municipalities, and other professionals who help survivors of gender-based and sexual violence. This web-based training is a basic introduction to gender-based and sexual violence, including definitions, defining consent and statistics.
A press release stated, “The agency will also recognize International Denim Day by hosting an exhibit to honor survivors' experiences, focusing on their resiliency, and their healing journey. International Denim Day was established in recognition of an 18-year-old sexual assault survivor, whose attacker – her driving instructor – was able to overturn his conviction by claiming he would not have been able to remove her jeans without her assistance.
“The verdict sparked worldwide protests. Women around the world showed up to work wearing denim jeans in a show of respect.”
The installation at the Empire State Plaza concourse will provide Information on local service providers and stories of resiliency from survivors of sexual assault from April 25-27.
Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, "It is important to raise awareness and address the stigma frequently attached to victims of sexual assault, and actually change people's lives. That's why the Department of Health has established the state's sexual assault forensic examiner program at designated hospitals to ensure that sexual assault patients receive specialized empathetic and compassionate care and prompt respectful treatment."
Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, "During the month of April, we observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month and acknowledge the impact of sexual assault on victims, and the ways in which we can support survivors as they work through the trauma they've endured. Survivors deserve to live their lives on their own terms, free from the weight of their assault, and OVS is proud to provide resources and services as they heal. We are thankful to have a champion in Gov. Hochul who supports the work of the Office of Victim Services."
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "While reported sexual violence is more often experienced by women and girls, anyone can experience sexual assault, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. We are pleased to join Gov. Hochul and our state agency partners in recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month and helping to amplify the voices of survivors of sexual violence."
Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, "It is important to recognize the pervasiveness of sexual assault and gender-based violence in our society, especially as we work to prevent it. This month, we honor victims and survivors as examples of strength and as individuals we should look up to for their courage and resilience. Thank you, Gov. Hochul, for your continued partnership in our effort to eradicate these violent crimes once and for all."
Office of Children and Family Services Acting Commissioner Suzanne Miles-Gustave said, "I am pleased to stand alongside Gov. Hochul to reinforce New York state's unwavering commitment to supporting sexual assault survivors. I also applaud our partners at OPDV for creating this incredibly important training and providing a platform for our survivors to be heard on their terms and in such a thought-provoking way. It's only by learning from their experiences and recognizing their bravery that we can fully understand how to meet their needs and help heal their trauma. Sexual violence takes on many forms, including domestic violence against children and other family members. During April and every month, OCFS is proud to oversee several programs that encourage survivors of domestic violence to feel protected, embraced and empowered."
Hochul Issues Proclamation to Recognize Children Separated From Parent On Active Duty
New York State Department of Veterans' Services will host virtual and in-person events for military children and their families; military families may register for the free events by emailing [email protected]; read proclamation here
On Sunday, Hochul issued a proclamation recognizing April as Month of the Military Child. The State Department of Veterans' Services will also host virtual and in-person events for military children and their families throughout the month. Military families may register for the free events by emailing [email protected].
"New Yorkers remain committed to ensuring that active service members are seen, commended, and applauded for their outstanding work on behalf of our country," Hochul said. "Often, though, this means quality time spent with families is all the more precious. I want to recognize and thank the families of service members this Month of the Military Child, and I hope they are able to enjoy the many events offered across the state."
New York State Department of Veterans' Services Commissioner Viviana DeCohen said, "No one understands the meaning of service and sacrifice better than our military families and children. Each day, they are asked to forgo certain privileges that we often take for granted. We are honored to be able to recognize and celebrate them this Month of the Military Child for their contributions to our state and nation."
The Department of Veterans' Services has also partnered with businesses and institutions around New York to host the following virtual and in-person events for military children and families, all of which are free:
√ 1 p.m. Saturday, April 22 (online and in person): Exclusive tour of the USS Slater in Albany – The USS Slater is the last Destroyer Escort afloat in the U.S. Explore the entire ship from the engine room to the captain's bridge, learn what life was like for the sailors who served aboard the Slater during World War II, and get a sense of what your daily duties may have been if you were a member of the crew at that time.
√ 12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 23 (online and in person): Visit the baby Asian elephant twins of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse – The zoo recently welcomed baby Asian elephant twins. Take a guided tour of this zoo and visit the twins and other animals who live there.
√ 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29 (online and in person): Private tour of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx – Visit parts of this iconic ballpark that typically only professional ballplayers get to see. There will be incredible photo opportunities for those who plan to attend in person.
√ 12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 30 (online and in person): Private tour of Oheka Castle in Cold Spring Harbor – This French-style chateau sits in the middle of 443 acres on the highest point on Long Island. During the Gilded Age of the 1920s, the mansion was the scene of lavish parties and regularly entertained royalty, heads of state, and Hollywood stars. It later served as the location of a government training school for Merchant Marine radio operators.
About the Department of Veterans' Services
The New York State Department of Veterans' Services, which has served as the state's advocacy agency for veterans, service members and military families since 1945, maintains an agencywide commitment of serving all veterans, service members, and military families in a wide range of practice areas, including claims and appeals for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, discharge upgrade appeals to the U.S. Department of Defense, and claims for New York state benefits. Veterans, service members and military families are encouraged to contact the department at 888-838-7697 or visit its website to meet in person or virtually with an accredited veterans benefits adviser to address their needs and gain the full measure of benefits that they have earned. Follow DVS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.