A candlelight vigil on Sunday, followed by a mural dedication by County Attorney Barbara LaWall and the 4th Avenue Street Merchants Association on Monday are just two of the many events that will be held over the next week honoring crime victims.
National Crime Victims' Rights Week runs from Sunday, April 22, through Saturday, April 28, in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month.
"We honor them because without crime victims' involvement in the criminal justice system, we wouldn't be able to do our jobs and hold criminals accountable for the harm that they engender against people," said LaWall in a recent Arizona Illustrated interview.
Up until 1990, victims of crimes in Arizona were not allowed in court rooms or able to give their input in cases. Only after a constitutional amendment were crime victims given the same rights as a defendant in a case--an amendment that "changed everything," said LaWall.
The Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault, or SACASA, has joined the County Attorneys' office in this week-long event.
SACASA has already hosted a "Preventing Dating Violence" event and will follow up on April 25 with "Denim Day," an international celebration in which people either wear denim or specialized pins to their place of work to dispel harmful sexual assault myths.
"We honor sexual assault survivors internationally every year during Denim Day to say that we reject the thinking that victims are the ones that are at fault," says SACASA director Montserrat Caballero.