April 1, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Issues Proclamation Declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Governor Hochul Issues Proclamation Declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Directs State Landmarks to be Illuminated in Teal Tonight, April 1, to Honor Survivors

New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence to Host weekly 'Sexual Violence 101' Training; Installation in Recognition of Denim Day

Read Proclamation Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today recognized April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in New York State, issuing a proclamation and directing that 12 state landmarks be illuminated in teal tonight, April 1, in honor of survivors. Coinciding with this proclamation, the State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence will conduct weekly 'Sexual Violence 101' training and collaborate with the State Office of General Services to host an exhibit to honor survivors' experiences and recognize International Denim Day.

"Eradicating sexual assault starts with changing the culture, bringing the gravity of these issues to light and supporting survivors," Governor Hochul said. "As we mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, we must continue to empower survivors across New York State, encourage them to use their voices to start community-wide discussions, and ultimately hold their abusers accountable."

Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Kelli Owens said, "Sexual violence impacts people from all walks of life. It is imperative that we approach sexual violence from a survivor-centered, trauma informed, and culturally responsive manner. We at OPDV understand the importance of survivors sharing their stories of resiliency and healing, in their own words, at their own time, and are proud to help elevate their voices. Thank you, Governor Hochul, for proclaiming April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and supporting survivors of sexual assault and all gender-based violence."

OPDV will host 'Sexual Violence 101,' an hour-long virtual training course for staff, supervisors, and administrators working in local districts, private nonprofit agencies, municipalities, and other professionals who help survivors of gender-based and sexual violence. This web-based training is a basic introduction to gender-based and sexual violence, including definitions, defining consent and statistics.

The agency will also recognize International Denim Day by hosting an exhibit to honor survivors' experiences, focusing on their resiliency, and their healing journey. International Denim Day was established in recognition of an 18-year-old sexual assault survivor, whose attacker — her driving instructor — was able to overturn his conviction by claiming he would not have been able to remove her jeans without her assistance.

The verdict sparked worldwide protests, women around the world showed up to work wearing denim jeans in a show of respect. The installation at the Empire State Plaza concourse will provide Information on local service providers and stories of resiliency from survivors of sexual assault from April 25 through April 27.

Governor Hochul also directed that 12 state landmarks and buildings be illuminated in recognition Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The landmarks and buildings to be illuminated tonight, April 1, include:

  • One World Trade Center
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • Empire State Plaza
  • State Fairgrounds - Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • The "Franklin D. Roosevelt" Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal

Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, "It is important to raise awareness and address the stigma frequently attached to victims of sexual assault and actually change people's lives. That's why, the Department of Health has established the state's Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner program at designated hospitals to ensure that sexual assault patients receive specialized empathetic and compassionate care and prompt respectful treatment."

Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, "During the month of April we observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month and acknowledge the impact of sexual assault on victims and the ways in which we can support survivors as they work through the trauma they've endured. Survivors deserve to live their lives on their own terms, free from the weight of their assault, and OVS is proud to provide resources and services as they heal. We are thankful to have a champion in Governor Hochul who supports the work of the Office of Victim Services."

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "While reported sexual violence is more often experienced by women and girls, anyone can experience sexual assault, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. We are pleased to join Governor Hochul and our state agency partners in recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month and helping to amplify the voices of survivors of sexual violence."

Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, "It is important to recognize the pervasiveness of sexual assault and gender-based violence in our society, especially as we work to prevent it. This month, we honor victims and survivors as examples of strength and as individuals we should look up to for their courage and resilience. Thank you, Governor Hochul, for your continued partnership in our effort to eradicate these violent crimes once and for all."

Office of Children and Family Services Acting Commissioner Suzanne Miles-Gustave said, "I am pleased to stand alongside Governor Hochul to reinforce New York State's unwavering commitment to supporting sexual assault survivors. I also applaud our partners at OPDV for creating this incredibly important training and providing a platform for our survivors to be heard on their terms and in such a thought-provoking way. It's only by learning from their experiences and recognizing their bravery that we can fully understand how to meet their needs and help heal their trauma. Sexual violence takes on many forms, including domestic violence against children and other family members. During April and every month, OCFS is proud to oversee several programs that encourage survivors of domestic violence to feel protected, embraced and empowered."

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640


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