April is sexual assault awareness month | Letter

April brings many things to our lives. We all prosper from the change in weather, longer days and brighter attitudes that come with springtime. It’s an opportunity that enlivens our daily being and helps to bring purpose in what we do. This weekend the San Juan Islands have another opportunity – to participate in a discussion that affects our everyday lives. It may not be your life specifically affected, but certainly a person in your circle of influence, a coworker, neighbor, friend or just an acquaintance of someone you recently met.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Like springtime, this month gives us an opportunity to change, incorporate new attitudes and see growth in ourselves and others. On Sunday, April 15, Kamilah Willingham spoke about sexual assault at the San Juan Community Theatre. Her perspective, as a survivor and social justice advocate, is one that gives us reason to listen. Her talk, “Changing the Script,” is about changing the culture and conversations surrounding sexual assault and how we as a society can become leaders of that change.

Another opportunity (actually several) is brought to our community. A performance of “Good Kids” will be presented at the San Juan Community Theatre on April 19, 20 and 21, at 7:30 p.m. and again on April 22 at 2 p.m. The play is centered on the topic of sexual assault and brought to us by the Spring Street International School. It should be impactful and one conversation that we really should join.

Island relationships bind us together and give us unique opportunities to effect positive change with each other. Be part of that conversation that elevates how we look at, deal with and interpret sexual assault. As a member of the group Stand Up Men, I invite you to challenge abuse and sexual assault, change lives and begin the positive change that needs to take place. Come to these events and talk with those around you.

Matt Claussen

Stand Up Men member

San Juan Island