Press Conference, September 2, 1997

Good morning. I've called you here today to draw attention to an appalling crime that is occurring in Kentucky at an alarming rate.

The crime is sexual assault.

As recently as Friday, a University of Kentucky student was killed and another was sexually assaulted and beaten in a senseless act of brutality in a neighborhood near the campus.

Every year in this Commonwealth, over 7500 women, men and children who are victims of sexual abuse or assault reach out to Kentucky Rape Crisis Centers for help.

In addition to that number are those who suffer in silence from the aftermath of sexual violence, and the thousands of women and men who live in fear of becoming a victim of this crime.

Today I am declaring the month of September as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I take this action as a way to bring the Commonwealth's attention to the prevalence and the devastation of this crime.

Standing here with me as I make this declaration are some important Kentuckians. First and foremost, is my wife Judi. As First Lady, she is well known for lending her leadership to addressing child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.

We also have represented in the audience today each of the state's Rape Crisis Centers.

I also want to introduce a couple of young women who represent a bringing together of two of the important initiatives of this Administration, our emphasis on higher education and our focus on addressing crime.

From the University of Kentucky, I am pleased to introduce Melanie Cruz. Melanie serves as President of the UK Student Government Association. We also have Heather Roe, who represents the Sexual Assault Prevention Committee at the University of Louisville.

Crime is an outrage wherever it occurs. Whether it's in the home or on the streets.

Today as we recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we're giving a special focus to the crimes of sexual assault that happen on our college and university campuses.

The reported murder and sexual attack on two of our young people last week is a graphic example of the kind of violence that can occur.

To give you a real understanding of why that special focus is important, I'd like to ask Heather to come forward to give a few comments.

Thank you Heather. Now, on behalf of all Kentuckians who have been victims of crime and in an effort to prevent sexual assault in this Commonwealth, I will sign the proclamation to declare September as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.