Published DateTo the editor,
New Beginnings would like to invite the community to join us, and organizations across the county in observing sexual assault awareness month. In New Hampshire, one in four women and one in 20 men have been sexually assaulted. Unfortunately, rates of victimization are very high among children and teens. National studies indicate that as many as one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before they are 18. Everyone in the community has a role to play in ending sexual assault, and this April, there are several ways to join our efforts.
One way to get involved is as simple as checking out your local library. For eight years, New Beginnings has partnering with libraries serving Belknap County towns to create displays that feature readings and educational materials about sexual violence and additional information about New Beginnings. Displays include a variety of genres, such as adult and young adult fiction, non-fiction, and self help books. Individuals and book clubs are encouraged to participate, and facilitated book discussions with New Beginnings staff are available upon request.
Another opportunity is to join New Beginnings and our sister agency, Voices Against Violence in Plymouth, in observing Denim Day. The Denim Day campaign began in 1999 as part of an international protest of an Italian Supreme Court decision to overturn a rape conviction. The basis for this decision was that the victim was wearing jeans, and according to the court, he could not have removed them without her help. The judgment sparked a worldwide outcry from those who understand that coercion, threats and violence go along with the act of rape. Join us in wearing denim to raise awareness, stand with victims, and call for justice.
Another important thing we can all do is to accept the call to action that is at the heart of this year's national campaign: preventing childhood sexual abuse. Communities across the country are standing up for children by proclaiming, "It's time.... to talk about it!" Everyone can get involved in ending sexual abuse against children by talking early, talking often, and taking action. This will help keep the next generation safe, not only through their childhood years, but into adulthood as well. However, it is hard for parents to know how to begin these conversations. New Beginnings is available to present to groups of parents and community members about talking to kids and teens about safety, respect, healthy relationships of all kinds, and strategies for prevention and intervention.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual, domestic, or stalking violence — or even if you simply have more questions about how to help prevent violence and abuse — please contact New Beginnings. As the local "crisis center," we do provide services to people in crisis situations, but we also offer a lot more. Staff and trained volunteer advocates provide information, referrals, and support 24 hours a day and our services are always confidential and free of charge. We can answer questions about any aspect of sexual violence, domestic violence, abusive relationships, and stalking. We can help you gain an understanding of warning signs of abuse, talking to your kids about abuse and safety, legal processes and options, community services and resources, and more. New Beginnings can be reached at (603) 528-6511 for the office, or either of the statewide hotlines: 1-800-227-5570 (Sexual Violence) and 1-866-644-3574 (Domestic Violence).
Education & Outreach Coordinator