Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Action and Awareness Day - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Action and Awareness Day

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Today is "Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Action and Awareness Day."  However, advocates urge outreach is a year round effort.

During 2012, over 5,000 incidents of domestic violence were reported to crisis intervention centers in North Dakota.  It's a problem that touches the entire community.

"It has literally millions of dollars worth of implications in terms of our economy through treatment and services to children and families impacted," says Tim Hathaway, Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota.

Many victims blame themselves.  Those involved say focus needs to be upon victim support -- and offender accountability.

"We grow up thinking that something's wrong with me.  This happened to me, so something's wrong with me, says Melissa Merrick, Director, Spirit Lake Victim Assistance.  "We want to always blame somebody.  How about we blame the people who, who are hurting the other people?"

"There really is evil.  There really are things that people do that justify them going away for long periods of time to not harm anybody else.  It's got to be about opening our arms to victims," says Drew Wrigley, Lieutenant Governor, North Dakota.

The North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services is asking people to join in their April campaign and speak out about sexual assault.  You can do so at North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services' website,, or on their Facebook page at


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