Sexual Assault Crisis Response of Central Arkansas is ramping up awareness efforts with the college crowd this month as students resume school activities.
The organization is available to all victims of sexual assault, but director Kate Vincent is attending as many school fairs and events as possible in order to let the right people know what’s available to them.
Vincent offers sobering statistics and a plea for victims to come forward.
“The No. 1 thing victims are afraid of is that no one will believe them,” Vincent said, adding that this is why so many rapes and sexual assaults go unreported.
One in six women in the United States has been a victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, according to Vincent.
About 3 percent of American men, or one in 33, have experienced an attempted or completed rape in his lifetime.
Vincent’s organization says 15 percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.
Eighty percent are under age 30, while 12-34 are the highest risk years.
“When you look at these statistics, you think they are bad, but because some go unreported, they’re even worse than this,” Vincent said.
Sexual Assault Crisis Response offers support to sexual assault victims first by believing their stories, Vincent said.
The program offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, emergency shelter with food and clothing, primary and secondary victim advocacy, emergency response at the assault hospital visit, community education, support groups, and safety planning.
The hotline is open for not only recent victims, Vincent said, but to any who may have never reported their incident or to anyone who is still dealing with the aftermath of a sexual assault.
Vincent manages about six volunteers who will respond on rotation to a victim’s call, no matter the time of day or night.
Hospitals offer sexual assault victims the response team’s services when victims receive medical care and submit a DNA test after the incident.
Vincent’s latest effort aimed at students is especially relevant in light of the Center for Disease Control’s 2010 study that found Arkansas led the nation in the highest percentage of female students who experience rape.
The program is in need of more advocate volunteers, and any who are interested should call Vincent at 501-730-9421.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, call the 24-hour crisis hotline at 866-358-2265.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)