Sexual Assault Awareness Event Educates, Supports More Than 200 Attendees

Velia Moncada

Gila River Indian News



On April 23, the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) Crime Victim Services (CVS), along with Gila River Police Department (GRPD) and Gila River Health Care’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (S.A.N.E.) department hosted a Sexual Assault (S.A.) Awareness Month event at the District 3 Multi-purpose Building in Sacaton.

The event focused on the importance of speaking out against sexual violence, reaching over 200 Community members.


The responsibility of CVS is to provide help and counseling to victims and survivors of violent crimes in the Community, as well as to GRIC members residing in the surrounding areas.


“Sexual Assault Awareness month is held in April, so we want to spread awareness during the month,” said CVS Coordinator Krystal Bergen-Tsosie, from the Navajo Nation.


The theme of the event, “Your Voice is Power,” aimed to empower survivors and allies, emphasizing the significance of everyone’s voice in raising awareness and combating sexual assault. By amplifying voices, sharing resources, and promoting education, the event served as a another step towards creating a Community dedicated to ending sexual violence and supporting those affected.


“I think it’s important for Community members to be aware of what’s available to them, and that we are here to support them and believe them,” said Director of CVS Katherine Lewis, District 3.


“They can get things taken care of here,” Lewis continued. “They can put a face to a program, so if they have to be seen (by a support programs team member) … maybe they will remember somebody and make the process a little more comfortable for them.” 


Attendees engaged with department booths by participating in a raffle game of booth bingo. Food and pickle slushies were served, along with a T-shirt giveaway. Representatives from supporting departments delivered presentations providing valuable insights into reporting procedures and victim support services, encouraging survivors to seek assistance and justice.


The day’s speakers included Joy Martin, the director of the S.A.N.E. Program; GRPD Chief Jesse Crabtree and Sgt. Rachelle Rodriguez; Prosecutors Seymour Gruber and Biagio Gingo, from GRIC’s Office of the Prosecutor also spoke.


“Use your voice and break the silence,” said Sgt. Rodriguez. “The more people come forward and feel safe to report it, the more these people (S.A. perpetrators) aren’t protected.”


For more information covering Sexual Assault Awareness please visit