NEWS Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Services and Napa Valley College Team Up for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 15, 2019
For Immediate Release
Media Contacts:
Karen Calhoun (707) 252 – 3687

NEWS Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Services and Napa Valley College Team Upfor Sexual Assault Awareness Month

(Napa, CA – April 15, 2019) – Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), recognized each April, aims to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it.   NEWS Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse services is committed to reducing incidents of sexual violence in Napa County while providing victims and survivors with support services.  In recognizing that sexual violence is a community issue, NEWS will be engaging the community in prevention and awareness campaigns throughout the month of April.  This year, NEWS partnered with the Napa Valley College SAVE Taskforce to bring two notable SAAM events to the college campus.

“What Were You Wearing?” Survivor Art Installation comes to Napa

A survivor art installation entitled “What Were You Wearing?” will be available for viewing from April 2nd to April 26th on the Napa Valley College campus. The installation is open to the public and will be displayed in the lobby of the 1500 and 1300 buildings.   In collaboration with NEWS Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Services and the Napa Valley College SaVE Taskforce, this exhibit is the first of its kind in Napa.

“What Were You Wearing?” has been curated on college campuses across the country featuring outfits recreated from the stories of student sexual assault survivors.  The project is inspired by a poem written by Dr. Mary Simmerling entitled What I Was Wearing, which details the outfit she was wearing when she was sexually assaulted: a white t-shirt and a knee-length denim skirt. Her poem will be on display throughout the showing.

Napa Valley College and NEWS are fortunate to present this recreation with permission from the original creators and the stories utilized were donated by survivors and used with their consent.  This installation provides a tangible response to one of our culture’s most pervasive sexual assault myths and asks participants to understand that sexual assault is never about the clothing.  The act of shedding those clothes is never enough to bring peace or comfort to survivors.  This violation is not simply woven into the fabric of the material, it is a part of the survivor’s new narrative.

“If only ending sexual violence was as easy as changing our clothes.  Instead it requires all of us to evaluate what enables us as individuals and as a society to ask, “what were you wearing?” in the first place.  NEWS is honored for the opportunity to collaborate with Napa Valley College and bring this powerful survivor art installation to the campus.  The hope is that it will be a learning experience where those viewing the exhibit will formulate healthy attitudes and beliefs regarding the common “clothing causes sexual violence” sexual assault myth.” – said Heather Bailie, SAVS Outreach and Education Program Manager.

One of the goals of the Installation is for participants to see themselves reflected in not only the outfits, but also the stories.  This realization moves us away from blaming the victim for violence and places responsibility where it belongs, on those who cause harm.  The hope is that survivors who experience the Installation feel heard, validated, believed, and know that the assault was not their fault.

“Sexual violence is a very real problem on every college campus.  It is important for us as a college and Napa as a community to continue to do its part to fight against it.  Napa Valley College is excited to partner with NEWS on bringing the powerful and impactful “What Were you Wearing?” Survivor Art

Installation to Napa.  The hope is to continue to open people’s eyes about sexual violence, remind them that this problem exists everywhere, and help victims know they are not alone and that we support them and their battle to rise above.”- said Amber Wade, Chief of Police, Napa Valley College.

Still We Rise Survivor Art Exhibit and Reception

Join NEWS Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Services for an artful journey of healing and empowerment in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  On Tuesday, April 30th from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM in the Napa Valley College Community Room #1731, an art exhibit and reception will celebrate the courage and resilience of local survivors.

United through a shared mission of rising above trauma, survivor art offers a voice to the unspoken realities of our time.  Participants from NEWS’ Writing Ourselves Whole writing workshop and the Kintsugi Healing Art workshop will display their artwork and artwork submitted by local survivors and allieswill be on display.

At the reception, NEWS will recognize champions in the Napa community who demonstrate outstanding service to end sexual violence and support survivors.  Because of their hard work and extraordinary commitment to survivors of sexual violence, NEWS is honoring many individuals from the Napa community with Teal Ribbon Awards.

Still We Rise Survivors Art Exhibit and Reception is free to the public and complimentary food and wine will be served.

According to US National Statistics –

  • One in five women and one in seventy one men in the US will be raped at some time in their lives.
  • One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.
  • 20% – 25% of college women and 15% of college men are victims of forced sex during their time in college.
  • Rape is the most underreported crime. 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April, NEWS and the Napa Valley College SaVE Taskforce are collaborating to provide advanced advocacy for victims of crime.  They both share an interest in and are providing preventative and supportive services to those impacted by domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault regardless of gender, race, age, religion, ability, sexual orientation, etc.  This collaboration increases access to services and improves awareness on campus and in the community.

Sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the student’s age or use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the student from having the capacity to give consent).A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.  Sexual violence can be carried out by other students, school employees or third parties.   All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

About NEWS Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Services

NEWS was formed in 1981 when a group of community members realized there was no safe place for women and children to go when they were fleeing abuse at home.  Volunteers had been taking battered women and their children into their own homes to protect them, and the need for a safe shelter was clear.  Our founders worked in partnership with local leaders to acquire a house where women and children could find safety and support, and begin the process of rebuilding their lives.

Today NEWS has grown into a strong organization with a dedicated group of staff and volunteer domestic violence and sexual assault counselors, providing direct client services as well as shelter 24 hours a day/7 days a week, to approximately 1200 people each year.  We work on prevention through education and outreach programs.

The NEWS Board of Directors is a group of leaders from a wide cross-section of the Napa community, providing governance and support to help NEWS meet its mission.  They give their time, talents, andsupport to keep NEWS going strong, always guided by the belief that everyone deserves a safe place to call home.

About Napa Valley College SaVE Taskforce

Members of the Napa Valley College community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from sexual violence.  The SaVE Taskforce consists of both campus and community representatives who meet monthly to discuss policy and bring information to the campus regarding sexual harassment, domestic violence, stalking, dating violence and sexual assault.  The SaVE Taskforce endeavors that students and employees receive support service awareness, on-going education, prevention information and develops campus programming intended to stop sexual violence.


Heather Bailie, SAVS Outreach and Education Program Manager
1141 Pear Tree Lane Ste. 220
Napa, Ca 94559
Phone: 707 – 252 – 3687

Amber Wade, Chief of Police, Napa Valley College
2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway
Napa, Ca 94558
Phone: 707 – 256 – 7771

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