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Santa Rosa, CA – May 12, 2021 – The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution affirming their support for survivors of sexual violence. The Board also affirmed its commitment to making the community a safe haven where sexual violence in any form will not be tolerated.
“As elected officials, we have a responsibility to keep the community safe, and that means creating an environment where sexual violence is unacceptable,” said Lynda Hopkins, Chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “Sonoma County stands united in its support for survivors of sexual violence.”
The Board pledged that the County will evaluate and implement policies and procedures to more thoroughly evaluate civic appointees and ensure that the County’s employment policies and services ensure a safe and supportive work environment.
“There is more work that we can do to make sure that sexual predators do not hold positions of power,” said Supervisor Susan Gorin. “This Board is committed to taking those steps and ensuring that public officials are trusted members of our community.”
The Board strongly condemned the actions of all perpetrators of sexual violence and vowed to not remain silent in the face of such acts while continuing to provide safety net services and work collaboratively with community organizations on behalf of all survivors of sexual violence.
“While we work to prevent sexual violence from happening in the first place, we must also provide support to the groups working with survivors,” said Supervisor David Rabbitt. “Survivors must be able to access the services they need to heal from the trauma of sexual violence.”
The Supervisors expressed appreciation and support for all the organizations and services in Sonoma County that ensure victims have appropriate support such as legal and victim assistance, crisis support centers, shelters, counseling resources, and law enforcement. They encouraged every resident to actively engage in public and private efforts to end sexual violence.
“As leaders in the community, we will set an example that sexual violence of any kind is not tolerated,” said Supervisor James Gore. “We encourage every resident to join us in speaking out against sexual violence and end these terrible acts.”
The resolution established expectations of the County of Sonoma’s department heads and elected officials, including the Board of Supervisors, to evaluate policies and procedures while keeping in mind the objectives of creating a safe environment free of sexual violence.
“Everyone has a role to play in ending sexual violence,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey. “As a County, we will take a look at our policies and procedures to ensure that perpetrators of sexual violence are not welcome in our ranks.”
The resolution states that sexual violence is a public health issue directly impacting the lives of children, youth, and adults of all genders and cultures and poses serious emotional, social, and civic consequences for all in our community. Nationally, studies show that one in five women will be raped at some point in their lifetime, and nearly half of all women will experience some form of sexual violence. One in 17 men will be raped at some point in their lifetime, and one in five men will experience some form of sexual violence.