WTHS students “deck the hall teal”

Students from West Texas High School and Middle School “Decked the Hall Teal” to show support for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. With the support from City of Stinnett; their sponsor, Kathleen Patterson; and the Hutchinson County Crisis Center, the students placed teal pinwheels and 97 teal flags in the front lawn of City Hall. According to Theresa Packebush, Children’s Advocate and Sexual Assault Educator for the Hutchinson County Crisis Center,” there are 97 flags to represent the fact that 97 percent of rapists will never spend one day in jail. The display has the town talking…exactly what the students were hoping for.”April 2012 was designated as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) in Texas by Governor Rick Perry.According to a 2003 study made by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and the University of Texas Austin School of Social Work, about two million Texans have been sexually assaulted.Hutchinson County Crisis Center joins with rape crisis centers across the state in remembering Sexual Assault Awareness Month to promote awareness as well as urge support of this issue.This year’s SAAPM campaign, “It’s time … to talk about it,” encourages communities and people to join the conversation on how we connect and respect one another to prevent sexual violence. The 2012 SAAPM campaign provides tools and resources that promote positive expressions of sexuality and healthy behaviors. By starting the conversation, this dialogue can build safe, healthy relationships.Unfortunately, sexual violence is a form of oppression and it is linked to all other forms of oppression; whether it its gender, age, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity, ability or economic class.According to www.borgerhc3.org, “Hutchinson County Crisis Center, Inc., is a community based non-profit agency committed to ending the cycle of domestic violence and sexual assault by providing safe residence for victims and their children, legal advocacy, interactive listening, skills training, counseling referrals, 24 hour Hotline and community education and outreach.”“People still think rape is a sex crime, when in fact, it is a crime of violence aimed to control and humiliate another human being. In order to have a healthy community, all citizens must support the effort to end sexual assault violence every month of the year,” said Packebush.The Hutchinson County Crisis Center Hotline number is 273-2313. Additional information can be found at www.borgerhc3.org. Details about local activities for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month can be found on TAASA’s event calendar at www.taasa.org/news-events/calendar.