Imagine your best friend, your sibling, your spouse, your child, or your parent. Now imagine that person being sexually assaulted or abused. If you really think about this, you may be shocked to learn it has probably happened to someone who you would do everything in your power to protect.
Now imagine your feelings when you learn this person has been sexually assaulted or abused. The first feeling you likely have is anger. Anger is a normal feeling for both the survivor and the survivor’s loved ones. Imagine the array of feelings your victimized family member or friend has. Would you know where to get him/her or yourself help? Would you know what to expect at the hospital should your he/she choose to go the hospital? Would you be able to help guide him/her through the legal process?
I would guess the answer to these questions is “no.” I, too, would have been at a complete loss on how to help 16 years ago before I began my career as a therapist. I wouldn’t have known there is a regional rape crisis center in every area of the state and the local program is operated through Cumberland River Comprehensive Care. I wouldn’t have known there is a 24 hour crisis line that my friend or family member could call and just talk. I wouldn’t have known there is a regional person on call to provide emotional support should a rape victim come to any hospital and there is someone who will attend legal proceedings with my loved one to provide emotional support throughout the often lengthy court process. I wouldn’t have known there are specially trained therapists to provide counseling for sexual assault survivors. I also wouldn’t have known that there is an educator who presents prevention programs in local schools for free.
Needless to say, everyone must be educated about the resources available to survivors of sexual assault and abuse. With statistics showing 1 in 6 females and 1 in 33 males will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime, the chance of you knowing someone needing these services is great. If you or someone you know is in need of services related to sexual assault or abuse, please contact us at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or 606-528-5286.
March is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Kentucky. Cumberland River Victims’ Services Program will be recognizing the month and the strength of all survivors and their families by hosting the Third Annual TriCounty Conquer 5K on March 29 beginning at the Engineer Street Bridge in Corbin. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. with the 5K beginning at 9 a.m. Preregister at http:// www.signmeup.com/98043 or contact us for a registration form at 528-5286 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cecelia White, MA
Cumberland River Victims’ Services