Government personalities and the public marched together against sexual violence in Saipan

By Lori Lyn Lirio

The children’s desire is to make “the CNMI a safe place for kids.” Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

OVER 300 people, including students, community and government organizations participated in the recently held Walk and Roll Against Sexual Violence held at Chalan Kanoa.

Compared to last year, the number of participants doubled this year, which according to 2018 Sexual Assault Awareness Month or SAAM chairperson Kiki I. Benjamin “showed more people care about the issue of sexual violence and that they are much more empowered to speak out.”

Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence executive director Maisie Tenorio said the April 18 SAAM march aimed at getting everyone to join the movement to end sexual assault and child abuse and neglect.
Earlier, in an acting capacity as governor, Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog signed a proclamation designating April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.

“We are walking here in Chalan Kanoa because in order to end sexual assault, in order to end child abuse and neglect, we need to educate ourselves and spread awareness what these issues are and get everyone to join our movement,” Tenorio said.

JROTC Manta Ray Battalion lead the Walk and Roll Against Sexual Assault and Child Abuse march. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

This month’s theme “Embrace your Voice.”

“Our voice is so important because victims of sexual assault, victims of child abuse and neglect they are very afraid and very ashamed to speak out,” Tenorio added.

“It is our job, as members of this community, to help them by speaking out for them.”

Tenorio said sexual assault and child abuse is happening in the community. She encouraged everyone to step up and help someone who is experiencing sexual abuse or child abuse.

“It is hard to speak out against sexual assault and child abuse and we know that, but we are asking everyone here that this village should be courageous to speak out even if it is hard,”she said, adding speaking out for victims empowered the latter to do the same.

“They need us. They need to hear that you are with them. They need to hear that you support them. They need to know that here at CK if they are being harmed that if they speak out and try to get help we are going to rally around them, support them and we are going to make sure that they get the justice that they deserved,” Tenorio told the participants.

Mount Carmel School president Galvin Deleon Guerrero was one of the people who showed support to the movement.

“It was inspiring to see so many people show up for such an important event. Many victims of sexual violence do not report such crimes, so it’s important to come together as a community to support them and raise awareness. By speaking out against sexual violence, we join in solidarity with victims to send a clear message that sexual violence and assault will not be tolerated in our community.”

Saipan Southern High School JROTC Manta Ray led the SAAM march. Members of the Department Public Safety, Division of Youth Services, Attorney General’s Office, and Karidat also joined the Walk and Roll.

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