Acting governor Victor B. Hocog yesterday signed proclamations that designated April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse and Neglect Month.
Sexual assault and child abuse is a serious issue internationally and is quite common in the CNMI.
The two proclamations were signed at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center. Community members, cabinet members, and individuals from both private and government sectors witnessed the signing ceremony.
According to Maisie Tenorio, Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence executive director, both the coalition and the Division of Youth Services aim to eliminate child abuse, neglect, and sexual assault in the CNMI.
“We’ve come a long way and over the years, our messages may have changed, but our mission is the same; to end child abuse, child neglect, and sexual assault,” she said.
During the proclamation, Neda Deleon Guerrero gave a heartfelt speech about why, and how she became an advocate against sexual assault.
Deleon Guerrero was a victim of sexual assault and, for the first time, was able to share her story with a crowd of people. Her story moved the entire room to tears but she was proud because according to her, opening up about what she endured brings her a step closer to full recovery, and inspires others to speak up.
“When we find the courage to speak out, it welcomes and inspires others to embrace their own words as well,” she said.
Cheyanne Manuel, from Saipan Southern High School, also inspired courage in individuals present for the proclamation signing through a monologue she prepared that spoke up against teen dating violence.
Throughout the month of April, the community can support the cause by joining the events the coalition and DYS has put together.
On April 4, 10, 17, and 24 the community can tune in to KKMP 92.1 FM live morning show to join the talks about embracing ones voice, the criminal justice system, sexual assault in the work place, and faith.
This Friday, April 6, the community can partake in the DYS roadside waving starting at 4pm at the Atkins Kroll intersection.
On Sunday, April 8, the San Roque Parish will host a day of prayer in support of the cause at 9am.
On April 11 and 25 the community can join the Walk and Roll against sexual violence at the Chalan Kanoa basketball court and at the Tanapag Youth Center starting at 5pm.
The highlight of the month will be the S.A.F.E Jamboree on April 21 from 11am to 4pm at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.