"Not being a bystander means a lot more than just being a part of this moment and not being ok with sexual assault. It means that when you see something you do something about it," said Ivonne Zucco, Executive Director for the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education.
"Don't be a bystander" That is the message the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education wants the community to know during the month of April.
"There are many ways in which we can prevent sexual assault from happening. I think we as humans have this internal feeling when we know something is wrong. What we are urging and teaching people to do is to follow those instincts," said Zucco.
Mayors and First Selectmen throughout Fairfield County joined the Center Wednesday afternoon proclaiming April as Sexual Assault Awareness month, urging the community to take a stand against assault.
Mayor Harry Rilling of Norwalk said, "A lot of times people who are victims of sexual assault feel embarrassed. They feel as though it is there fault and they don't know who to turn to in order to get assistance. Don't be a bystander. Make sure that if you know somebody that needs assistance or that you need assistance that you turn to the Sexual Assault Crisis Center.
"As far removed as I am from sexual assault, I have had my experience and I have seen just how threatening and damaging it can be," said Stamford Mayor David Martin after telling a personal story about how he aided someone after they were sexually assaulted.
"It's very important that we don't turn a blind eye and we be considerate of others and treat them and think of them as if they were a family member or a sister or a brother. We have to be careful of how we conduct ourselves on a daily basis because it is something that just in not acceptable in this day in age,"said Greenwich Selectman David Theis.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime.
"There is a lot more that we have to do. Last year the Center served over 460 survivors of sexual assault with our counseling and advocacy work," Zucco.
For more information about the Center and events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, visit http://www.thecenter-ct.org.