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“Our Lives Begin to End The Day We Become Silent About Things That Matter.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rape is a violent crime in which the rapist expresses power, anger, rage, and aggression. Nearly one in five women has been raped, and still more have endured other forms of sexual violence or abuse. Often, crimes of sexual assault have tremendous effect on young people; women between the ages of 16 and 24 are at greatest risk of rape and sexual assault, and many victims, male and female, first experience abuse during childhood (National Sexual Violence Resource Center, nsvrc.org).
Without treatment, sexual assault victims may suffer prolonged psychological effects and continue to experience problems that include fear and phobic anxiety years after the assault. Some victims may be diagnosed with Rape-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (RR-PTSD). According to the National Women’s Study, nearly one-third of all rape victims develop RR-PTSD sometime during their lifetimes (National Center for Victims of Crime, ncvc.org). PTSD is a mental health disorder primarily characterized by chronic anxiety, depression, and flashbacks which develop after experiencing significant trauma such as combat, natural disaster, or violent crime victimization.
Immediate contact with sexual assault victims is imperative for their psychological recovery. Center staff or trained volunteers provide 24/7 emergency crisis response to victims at local hospitals through established protocols. Hospital emergency room staffs have been provided with training and have sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) on staff. This greatly increases the ability of a hospital to meet the needs of the sexual assault victim, and emergency rooms notify the Center as soon as a victim of sexual assault is admitted.
Counseling is also extremely important for the victims of sexual assault. Studies indicate that victims who do not receive counseling within six months following their assault may never recover. Additionally, victims who receive assistance and support are more likely to report their sexual assault and to follow through with the criminal justice process.
Sexual assault exemplifies one of the most personal forms of violence that a person can experience. Therefore, the Center works to meet the immediate and long-lasting needs of adults and children who have experienced sexual violence. Funding from the United Way of Jackson & George Counties allows the Center to continue providing the comprehensive array of specialized services and enhanced victims’ rights to adult and child victims of sexual assault in Jackson and George counties.
The Center’s Rape Crisis Program provides crisis response to victims of sexual assault 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. These services are available for men, women, and children.
Sexual assault advocates are available to assist victims undergoing examination or treatment in local area hospitals. Our advocates may stay with victims to help them through the examination process, offer support, and provide information on follow-up counseling and services.
We offer confidential, nonjudgmental, emotional support and services to victims of rape, whether it happened ten minutes or ten years ago. Services include:
- 24-hour Emergency Response
- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Training
- Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART)
- Case Management
- Free Civil Legal Services
- Court Advocacy & Accompaniment
If you’d like more information on the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence’s Rape Crisis Program or are in need of services, please call us at 228-435-1968.