Women’s Center, Marquette law enforcement hang ribbons for sexual assault awareness

North Central UP

MARQUETTE, Mich. (PRESS RELEASE/WJMN) – In honor of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Women’s Center and local law enforcement teamed up to hang teal ribbons outside the Marquette County Courthouse.

The Women’s Center is raising awareness of sexual assault victims and survivors by placing the teal ribbons around the community. The ribbon is a symbol of awareness and prevention, and the color teal symbolizes trust and healing.

“We’re hoping that it destigmatizes sexual assault in general or survivors or victims of sexual assault,” said Madison Meehling, sexual assault coordinator for the Women’s Center. “And we’re also hoping that our community participates with us: maybe hanging some teal ribbons in their windows or wearing teal on Teal Day, which is April 16th. And just showing that we hear you, we hear your voices, and we support you, and we’re a safe person that you can talk to.”

Law enforcement officers were asked to help hang the ribbons, as they are usually the first on the scene during a sexual assault situation.

“It’s all about awareness. You know, making people and letting them know what’s going on and more people are going to report this,” said Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt. “Everyone knows it’s going on. If other people see what’s happening, they’ll speak up and they’ll report these things, and let the police know, let the Women’s Center know. We have to end this cycle. It’s all about awareness and that’s what we hope to do today.”

In the United States today, one in four women and one in six men have reported experiencing sexual assault in their lifetime. Heather Clarke, the sexual assault response team coordinator, says sexual assault happens in every community, even if you don’t know it or see it yourself.

“I think one of the biggest things around is that people don’t think that, because we live in such a small community and people know everybody, it’s not happening here. And that clearly is not the case. Sexual assault is happening in Marquette County, in the entire U.P., as well as the entire world. It has been going on for many years.

And not only that, it doesn’t just happen to women there are men sexual assault victims, there are children there are elderly. And even though our name is the Women’s Center it can be very misleading because we will help everybody, whether it be a female victim, a male victim, an LGBTQ member, or a child,” said Clarke.

The Women’s Center also hung ribbons with the Ishpeming Police Department at Lake Bancroft Park, and in downtown Negaunee with the Negaunee Police Department.

For more information on the Women’s Center and its services for men, women, and youth, visit
their website at www.wcmqt.org.

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