Contributed Photo/Courtesy Me Too Movement: The Mt. Graham Safe House is sponsoring a Take Action Against Sexual Assault March this Wednesday.
By Jon Johnson
THATCHER – In solidarity with the #MeToo Movement and to support survivors of sexual assault, the Mt. Graham Safe House is sponsoring its Take Action Against Sexual Assault March this Wednesday, April 3, starting at 5 p.m. in the Bashas’ parking lot.
After assembling in the parking lot, marchers will wear teal-colored clothing and carry signs educating the public on the issue locally as they march down U.S. Highway 70 to JD’s Grill House at the intersection of 20th Avenue and back to Bashas’. The Safe House will also have teal #MeToo T-shirts on sale for $20 at the event with proceeds benefitting its sexual assault program.
Mt. Graham Safe House Executive Director Jeanette Aston told the Gila Herald that the purpose of the march is to help spread the word about how prevalent the issue of sexual assault is in the community and to assist victims.
The march is part of the #MeToo Movement, according to Aston. Tarana Burke founded the #MeToo Movement in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. The movement has gained numerous supporters in the last year after scandals of sexual harassment and sexual assault in various businesses have rocked the country.
“The #MeToo Movement is here too,” Aston said. “Sexual assault and sexual harassment is here, too, just like it is everywhere else. So, we want to give our support and let people who are victims know that they’re not alone. There are other people out there who care.”
According to the #MeToo Movement’s website, 17,700,000 women have reported sexual assault since 1998. Aston said Graham County also suffers from a high number of sexual assault cases against women but that the number is actually higher than some perceive because a great number of the cases never get reported to police.
“I think we have really bad numbers in Graham County,” Aston said. “We’ve been surveying the people who come through here for any type of sexual violence they’ve experienced and the numbers have been about 75 percent.”
The Mt. Graham Safe House was formed in 1995 to provide short-term emergency housing to victims of domestic violence and their children. Advocacy services were then added to provide service to both victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Those who wish to donate to the Mt. Graham Safe House can do so by clicking here.
What: Take Action Against Sexual Assault March #MeToo Movement
Where: Meet at Bashas’ parking lot
When: Wednesday, April 3 at 5 p.m.
Why: To stand with victims of sexual assault