The City of West Hollywood joins communities around the world to recognize National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in April.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 5 women in America experiences a rape or attempted rape, and nearly 44% of women and about 25% of all men experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Within the LGBTQ community, approximately 1 in 8 lesbian women (13%) and nearly half of bisexual women (46%), have been raped in their lifetime; four in 10 gay men (40%), and nearly half of bisexual men (47%) have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime. In addition, having multiple disabilities can increase a person’s risk of rape and sexual assault. Women with disabilities are twice as likely to suffer assault and rape, and children with mental health or intellectual disabilities are almost five times more likely to experience sexual abuse. According to a 2015 U.S. Trans Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, approximately 47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
The City will host an outreach event to encourage people to be more aware of sexual assault, to promote a message of consent with its “Only Yes Means Yes” public awareness campaign and to distribute drink-spiking test strips that are designed to detect the possible presence of “date rape” drugs, such as GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) or ketamine. The test-strip user drops a small amount of drink liquid on the testing patch, which turns dark blue if drugs are present. The outreach event will be held on Friday, April 28, 2023 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at various nightlife establishments in the City’s Rainbow District and along the Sunset Strip. Participants will include members of the West Hollywood City Council; the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Station; Block by Block Security Ambassadors; LA LGBT Center’s WeHo Life program; members of the City of West Hollywood’s Women’s Advisory Board, Public Safety, other public officials as well as City staff members. Participants will pass out awareness and prevention materials at various nightlife locations in the city. More information will be available on the City’s calendar.
The City encourages community members to wear jeans on Denim Day, Wednesday, April 26, 2023. Denim Day is an internationally recognized day to raise awareness about rape and sexual assault. It was founded by the nonprofit organization Peace Over Violence following a 1999 court ruling in Italy in which a rape conviction case was overturned with the argument that, because the victim had been wearing tight jeans at the time of the assault, she must have been expressing consent. Each year, City staff members and public safety partners recognize Denim Day by wearing denim, including the participation of Deputies and personnel from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Station. Denim Day recognition is organized each year by the City’s Community Safety Department in the spirit of uniting against sexual assault, to break the silence about sexual violence, and to stand up in support of survivors.
The City of West Hollywood is continuing its work to raise awareness about sexual assault and consent with its Only Yes Means Yes” campaign. First launched in 2016, the #OnlyYes campaign was expanded in 2021 with additional focused outreach, graphics, and messaging in and around nightlife establishments. Community members can amplify the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month message by using the hashtags #DenimDay, #OnlyYes and #Consent.
The City of West Hollywood has a range of ongoing efforts in place to assist in creating and maintaining a safe environment in nightlife business establishments that serve alcohol. The City of West Hollywood became the first city in California to pass an Ordinance, in late 2021, to require Bystander Intervention training for personnel in business establishments that serve alcohol for onsite consumption. The training program began in March 2022; training is provided by the Rape Treatment Center (RTC) at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center and provides an educational course that addresses the issue of drug-facilitated sexual assaults and date rape drugs. The training also promotes the proactive role that onsite alcoholic beverage sales establishments can take in the prevention of sexual assaults. To date, more than 2,200 employees have taken part in this training. It is anticipated that more than 2,300 individuals will be trained through the program by summer 2023. For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s Bystander Intervention training program for establishments that serve alcohol for onsite consumption, please contact Danny Rivas, the City of West Hollywood’s Director of Community Safety at (323) 848-6424 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City in partnership with the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s WeHo Life program, distributes drink-spiking test strips to West Hollywood nightlife establishments. Outreach staff from the WeHo Life program began test-strip distribution efforts in October 2022 to inform and educate community members and businesses that drink-spiking test strips are a tool for personal safety that can be used anywhere at any time. To date, nearly 13,000 test strips have been distributed.
The City and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station urge anyone who believes they are a victim of any crime – or anyone in the community with any public safety concerns – to reach out to the Sheriff’s Station 24/7 at (310) 855-8850. In an emergency, always call 911.
The City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety website area provides personal safety tips for nightlife safety and sexual assault prevention and resources; please visit: https://www.weho.org/city-government/city-departments/community-safety/public-safety/crime-prevention-and-personal-safety-tips/sexual-assault-prevention-night-club-safety.
If you or someone you care about has been a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or intimate partner stalking, there are resources to help.
The Los Angeles County Rape and Battering Hotline, Peace Over Violence, a confidential non-judgmental resource where emotional support, advocacy, information, and referrals are available, can be reached 24-hours-a-day by contacting (213) 626-3393 or (310) 392-8381 or at www.peaceoverviolence.org.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s STOP Violence Program works to increase access to mental health and supportive services for LGBTQ survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and intimate partner abuse. Call (323) 860-5806 or email STOPviolence@lalgbtcenter.org.
The Jewish Family Service’s Family Violence Program provides confidential 24-hour crisis lines for victims of abuse by contacting (310) 858-9344 (English/Spanish); (818) 464-2864 (Farsi) and (310) 858-9344 (Jewish Orthodox).
The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), organizes the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline, a referral service that can put you in contact with your local rape crisis center. The hotline can be reached 24 hours a day at (800) 656-4673, or access RAINN’s chat feature for help at www.rainn.org.
The City of West Hollywood provides a variety of helpful tips on its website regarding safety and prevention. To find out more, please visit www.weho.org/publicsafety. For more information about Denim Day, please call the City’s Public Safety Department at (323) 848-6414. To find out more information about the City’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Outreach Event, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Community Programs Coordinator Larissa Fooks at (323) 848-6413 or email@example.com. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.