Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Birmingham

By on March 31, 2014
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UAB and Crisis Center are uniting throughout April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Birmingham community is encouraged to attend and support this social issue by attending events supported through the partnership.

Crisis Center is hosting several events to raise awareness about sexual assault and to benefit its programs, including Rape Response and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) facility.

Rape Response is a program where victims of sexual assault can seek help from a hotline answered by trained staff of the Crisis Center and Rape Response. Victims may reach the 24/7 hotline at (205) 323-7273.

Crisis Center’s SANE facility allows for specialized SANE nurses offer individualized care for victims in a private facility away from the hustle and bustle of an emergency room. Last year, Rape Response’s SANE facility provided 270 people with forensic medical exams. Funding raised from events in April will help provide forensic medical exams, clothing and resources to victims of sexual assault.

“We give new clothing to each survivor so they can leave with dignity and respect, and not feeling as though they have been victimized again,” Crisis Center Executive Director Meg McGlamery said.

Raising funds through this event will help Rape Response continue providing clothing and resources to victims.

Join Sojourns, A Fair Trade Store for the Fashionably Fair Show at the Continental Bakery downtown, on April 3, 5:30-7:30 p.m at 19th St. and 4th Ave. N. The Fashionably Fair Show will be an evening filled with friends, drinks, and fair trade clothing and accessories.

“We wanted to benefit a women’s charity, so I asked our Facebook fans which charity they’d like to support. Everyone bombarded me with Rape Response. It was an overwhelming 9-1 vote,” said Melissa Kendrick, Owner of Sojourns, A Fair Trade Store.

General admission tickets are $10; a VIP package is $50; and the Gold VIP package is $100. Ticket sales benefit Rape Response.

“We are trying to make it affordable. A $10 general admission ticket gets you two drink tickets and snacks. You can’t go out with a friend and have two drinks while benefiting a charity anywhere else,” said Kendrick.

Take Back the Night, April 16, will be hosted by UAB in conjunction with Rape Response. The Take Back The Night Foundation seeks to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence.

According to Take Back the Night’s website, “We serve to create safe communities and respectful relationships through awareness events and initiatives.”

“We are honored to be a part of Take Back the Night at UAB. A UAB Resource Fair will begin at 5:30 p.m. This event creates a safe place for survivors and their loved ones, as well as empowered bystanders, to stand together to use their voices – not only about the reality of this crime, but what we need to do together to create change,” said McGlamery.

Students can also attend documentary screenings to learn more about the issue and ways to prevent it.

Two students from the University of Alabama (UA) produced “Documenting Justice,” a documentary that addresses sexual violence. The screening will take place at UA on April 15.

Crisis Center is also hosting a screening and discussion of the documentary “It Was Rape.” The time and location is TBA.

The Alabama Coalition Against Rape, a state coalition of rape crisis centers that includes Rape response, is hosting the webinar “Beyond Engaging Males” on April 2, 2-3:30 p.m. Anyone can register for the webinar by reserving a spot at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/404148190.

The International Association of Forensic Nurses’ state chapter is hosting a conference April 24-26 in Gulf Shores for medical personnel, counselors, and legal personnel/law enforcement. The chapter will discuss SANE programs across the state and highlight the importance of these programs as well as how beneficial and necessary they are to closing cases.

Attending sexual assault awareness events demonstrate support to victims of sexual abuse or violence.

“We all know a survivor of sexual violence. You may not know who they are, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to be the safe person in their life they feel comfortable telling?” said McGlamery. “That is what it’s all about – becoming empowered to help those who have been hurt; being empowered to speak up and preventing others from getting hurt; being empowered to speak out when people use rape myths to excuse this crime. We stand as a community to say we will not tolerate, excuse or allow this continue to the men, women, boys and girls in our lives.”

The Crisis Center is available 24/7, 365 days a year and located at 3600 8th Ave. S #501, Birmingham, Al 35222. The Center can be contacted at (205) 323-7782 or online at http://www.crisiscenterbham.com/contact-us.php.

For emergencies, dial the 24 hour hotline at call our 24 hour hotline at 205-323-7777 or 1-800-273-8255.

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