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Advocates Host Reception to Launch Sexual Assault Response Team
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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

The Advocates will hold a reception to celebrate the newly formed Sexual Assault Response Team at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 25.

The event, also designed to foster dialogue about sexual assault in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, will take place at The Advocates, 211 S. River St. in Hailey. Cake will be served.

Sexual assault affects people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Despite increased awareness efforts, the statistics surrounding sexual violence continue to be staggering, underscoring the urgent need for continued education, prevention and support for survivors, according to The Advocates.

One in four women and nearly one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed assault in their lifetime. A child is victimized every nine minutes, with most of them being between 12 and 19 years of age.

These statistics are occurring at the same rate in the Wood River Valley, according to The Advocates. The first step to addressing it is acknowledging it.

“We must create an environment where survivors feel empowered to speak out, where they are believed, and where they have access to the necessary resources for recovery,” said Darrel Harris, director of Prevention and Social Change at The Advocates.

Thursday’s event will include local and state representatives, law enforcement officials and representatives of victim advocacy and support organizations who will have the chance to share about local resources and support networks.

It will also offer the community the chance to learn about the new Sexual Assault Response Team, which is a multidisciplinary team designed to provide survivors information about the community services available to them. SART teams are located throughout the nation, the first being organized in 2011.

"We believe that by coming together as a community to shine a light on this important issue, we can break the silence surrounding sexual assault and empower survivors to seek help and healing," said Kylie Anderson, Director of Client Programs.  "Our event on April 25th is an opportunity for us to unite and demonstrate our commitment to supporting survivors and creating a culture of respect.”

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