The Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls wants to implement a bystander intervention training program. This comes after the commission released its study on sexual violence in the area.
Just last month, at the site of what will be the Refuge House’s newest sexual assault treatment facility, the Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls released the results of a 13-month long study. According to the findings, 1 out of 5 women will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime and 68 percent of those assaults are never reported to law enforcement.
“We’re actually seeking to have a bystander information training program brought to Leon County," says commission chair Jessica Lowe-Minor, "which is basically a training program to work with people in the community to help them understand a little bit better the dynamics of sexual assault violence and what regular citizens can do to help prevent sexual assault violence in our community.”
The commission presented the study’s findings and bystander program to Leon County officials last week. The bystander intervention program includes informing community members on what to do if they are a witness to sexual violence, such as making your presence as a witness known and creating a distraction. The program is also beneficial for men, who may not be as aware of signs to look out for. However, the city and county have been responsive to the program.
“The commission worked together with the Department of Health to process that grant application and both the city and the county signed on to that grant application, in terms of writing letters of support for that." said Lowe-Minor. "So, this is something that our community is working collaboratively to address and we’re really excited about that.”
The commission is also planning numerous community events throughout the year to promote sexual assault education and advocacy.
*Headline Correction/Clarification: The Tallahassee/Leon Co. Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, not the Florida Commission, is recommending the sexual assault program.