Sexual assault campaign gives victims a voice

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MACOMB (WGEM) – With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a local campaign is making a difference.

The Western Illinois Regional Council and Community Action Agency’s Clothesline Project aims to shine a light on survivors of sexual assault.

Survivors, their loved ones and allies are invited to design a t-shirt to hang on a clothesline and display at various community events throughout the month.

Each shirt is color coded to signify what happened to each survivor. (i.e. blue/green for child victims of sexual abuse or incest, purple for those attacked because of their sexual orientation, white for those who died of violence).

“Right now there is still a big stigma to staying silent when this crime happens to someone,” said WIRC public relations officer Jamie Roth. “People worry that they won’t be believed or that it’s somehow their fault, or that they might get some kind of retaliation from the abuser. So we hope the Clothesline project will help more people come forward, tell their story and get the help they need.

Victim Services Educator Mariah Huston said there were 221 phone calls in 2021. She said campaigns, like the Clothesline Project, correlated with more people coming forward for help. ‘aid.

“As people tend to feel more comfortable, that number tends to go up,” Huston said. “And while it’s not something we like to see the number increase due to the experience they’ve had, it’s good to know that they are comfortable reaching out to us and looking for support. .”

Police Chief Jeral Jones said the Macomb Police Department takes reports of sexual assault very seriously and each case is unique.

“We work with a number of community organizations here in the Macomb community who also help provide resources for victims of sexual abuse and child abuse victims,” ​​Jones said.

Jones said if you or someone you know is involved in an abusive situation or in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

Victim Services has a 24-hour helpline with toll-free resources and support at 309-837-5555.

The list of events of the Clothesline project is here:

  • April 18: The Clothesline Project from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Knox College Campus in Galesburg.
  • April 19: The Clothesline Project from 9am to 3pm at Monmouth College in Monmouth.
  • April 23: The Awareness Table from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Carthage Departmental Market.
  • April 27: The Awareness Table from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Fisher Foods in Oquawka.
  • April 27: The Awareness Table from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Save-A-Lot Foods in Monmouth.

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