Signs of Hope Celebrates Empowerment During Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Organization hosting a resource fair April 5 and signature Denim Day fundraiser April 27
LAS VEGAS (March 25, 2022) – Signs of HOPE, an organization formerly known as The Rape Crisis Center that provides a broad range of services for survivors of sexual violence and exploitation, is pleased to announce its plans for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), which is nationally recognized in April each year. The prevailing theme for the month’s events and activities set by Signs of HOPE is “Celebrating Empowerment.”
“We want to set a positive tone and maintain it throughout Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” said Daniele Staple, executive director of Signs of HOPE. “Especially for this first SAAM after the COVID lockdowns, when so many people felt isolated, we felt highlighting community and individual empowerment and ways in which people may empower one another were key messages for the month. We want survivors and allies everywhere to embrace who they are, speak their truth, and seek support for themselves and others as needed. We encourage all seeking services to engage with us for support on their healing journeys, and to join us in leading the charge to prevent sexual violence and work to end rape culture.”
Signs of HOPE will kick off the month with a community resource fair on Tuesday, April 5 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the courtyard of the organization’s office at 801 S. Rancho, Suite C-3. The fair is free to attend and includes sign-up opportunities for counseling and support groups, arts and crafts, health and wellness screenings plus food and entertainment. “Empowerment often begins with the resources needed to feel safe and well, allowing people to move forward from a place of security and wellbeing,” added Staple.
The resource fair is an opportunity to learn more about the organization, its services and volunteer opportunities in a festive and family-friendly atmosphere. According to Staple, Signs of HOPE has experienced increasing demand for years, including a dramatic increase for counseling services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Signs of HOPE:
- Provided counseling to 1,743 clients, averaging over 300 hours of counseling per month
- Handled more than 14,000 hotline calls and website visits
- Met with 450 survivors who went to the hospital for a forensic sexual assault exam
- In partnership with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, trained more than 750 hospitality workers on how to spot and prevent predatory behavior through the Stay SAFE program
- Assisted 108 victims of human trafficking through its Resources and Integration for Survivor Empowerment or R.I.S.E. program, which provides crisis response and long-term case management services to victims of all forms of human trafficking.
In between the two signature events, the organization is encouraging Southern Nevadans to do something to empower themselves and be of service to survivors, Signs of HOPE and the community. These self-empowerment activities may include making a pledge to complete 10 books during the month, to walk a certain number of miles, or do a certain number of community service hours. Signs of HOPE suggests announcing your personal challenge on social media and asking for pledges that can support Signs of HOPE, another organization you care about, or a survivor that you know.
The organization will close out Sexual Assault Awareness Month with its signature fundraiser held annually on Denim Day, an international awareness raising day during which everyone is encouraged to wear denim to show support for survivors. This year’s event on Wednesday, April 27 will be in person following a two-year, pandemic hiatus during which Denim Day activities were virtual. To mark the occasion, Signs of HOPE is shifting the event from daytime to early evening with a focus on celebrating survivors and highlighting the impact Signs of HOPE’s services has on individuals in our community. Tickets and sponsorships are available now for Denim and Drag 2022, A Celebration of Empowerment from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at MEET in downtown Las Vegas. Guests will enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres, a selection of drinks from around the world and an inspirational runway show featuring Signs of HOPE clients of all ages and backgrounds. Las Vegas drag entertainers will serve as party hosts throughout the evening and as special support for the survivors participating in the runway show.
About Denim Day:
The day commemorates a decision by the Supreme Court of Italy, which overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans, and the panel concluded she must have assisted her attacker in taking them off, and therefore was consenting. The following day, female members of the Italian parliament wore jeans to work in solidarity with the young victim. This terrible decision brought worldwide attention to the rampant victim blaming that continues to occur with sexual assault.
About Signs of HOPE
Signs of HOPE – Healing, Options, Prevention and Education – is a nonprofit organization dedicated to offering hope, help and healing to those affected by sexual violence and exploitation. The organization was founded in 1974 by Florence McClure and Sandra Petta as the Community Action Against Rape (CAAR) and operated as The Rape Crisis Center from 2004-2021. Today, Signs of HOPE operates a 24/7 crisis hotline, SMS text and online chat daily and provides hospital response for sexual assault victims. In addition, the organization provides counseling, advocacy and support to help victims throughout the healing process, for as long as it takes. Through its Resources and Integration for Survivor Empowerment or RISE program, the organization provides crisis response and long-term case management services to victims of all forms of human trafficking. Signs of HOPE is committed to raising awareness of sexual assault and exploitation by engaging in prevention efforts, educational programs and community outreach, particularly to youth. The Signs of HOPE 24-hour hotline number is 702-366-1640. SMS text is available daily at 725-900-2640. For more information and online chat services, visit sohlv.org.