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About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that he will be joined by legislators, law enforcement officials and advocates on April 18, 2008, to launch a new media campaign to raise awareness about crimes of sexual assault. The details of the campaign will be discussed at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Friday in the Press Room (Room 43) of the State Capitol.
The new media campaign was designed by the Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force (SATF) and is intended to shift the way society views sexual assault crimes by focusing on the perpetrator, not the victim. Important messages that label these crimes as assault - not "misunderstandings" or "miscommunications" which are often the words used to describe them - are primary to the campaign. Another key message is that sexual assault perpetrators commit these crimes by choice, not by accident or mistake.
"This new campaign is the first of its kind in the nation in which we call sexual assault just exactly what it is - criminal assault," stated Myers. "For too long, we've failed to adequately describe the nature of these crimes and accurately assign blame for them," he added. "This is an opportunity to begin that very important conversation."
Joining Myers at Friday's event will be Washington County Senior Deputy District Attorney Jeff Lesowski; Hillsboro Deputy Police Chief Chris Skinner; Jayne Downing, Executive Director of Mid-Valley Women's Crisis Service; Laura Mahr, staff attorney at the Oregon Law Center; and members of the Oregon House of Representatives: Sara Gelser, Greg Macpherson and Andy Olson.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the SATF is engaging in several statewide activities to raise awareness about the issue. In addition to the media campaign, which includes statewide distribution of posters and 28 billboard displays, Myers was the first to sign the Speak Up and Speak Out online pledge campaign which seeks to end sexual violence. In conjunction with the Southern Poverty Law Center and Immigrant Justice Project, the SATF is also hosting the Bandana Project, which educates viewers about sexual assault crimes among migrant farm worker women. It is currently on display at the Oregon Departments of Justice and Human Services buildings in Salem.
For more information about the Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force, visit www.oregonsatf.org.
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