Parker is a local fifth grader who has just celebrated a tenth birthday. He loves soccer, riding his bike, playing an instrument in band, ice cream and pizza. Parker’s family enjoys spending time with extended family and friends having cookouts, going camping, going to the movies, and just getting together.
Casey is a local businessperson who is married with two young children. He enjoys spending time with family and friends and is also active in the community volunteering whenever time allows for local agencies. Casey is great friends with Parker’s parents, and the families spend a lot of time together. Parker thinks Casey is hilarious and looks at him as a great friend.
Parker sometimes even tells Casey things that he could never say to his parents. Casey recently bought Parker an iPod so he could message Casey anytime he wanted to talk. Casey tells Parker that this can be their little secret and has even met Parker privately, so they could spend time alone.
Do you know their gender? Do you know their religion? Do you know their racial or ethnic groups? Sexual abuse is a social problem crossing all racial and ethnic groups, socioeconomic classes, religions, genders, sexual orientation and ages.
Sexual assault is an act of violence. It’s about power and control, not about sex. Regardless of the circumstances, sexual assault is never the fault of the victim.
In this area we are fortunate to have a state-recognized sexual assault service provider, the Sexual Assault Crisis Center–Fox Cities. Founded in 1978, it serves Outagamie and Calumet Counties, providing personalized counseling, advocacy, resources and education (C.A.R.E.) for victims of sexual assault, their families, friends and others affected in our community. When sexual violence happens, Sexual Assault Crisis Center is there to help. Whether it be to offer counseling and support through the immediate trauma of sexual violence, or to offer support during the medical and legal process, the staff and trained advocate volunteers are there 24/7-365 days a year to act on behalf of and in support of the victims/survivors to ensure their interests are represented and their rights upheld.
The work of the center encompasses both intervention and prevention. For sexual violence to be eradicated, it needs a comprehensive response; including intervening where violence is happening to provide safety, support, and resources to those impacted by it, as well as educational outreach and social climate change which inform behavioral choices people make and prevents sexual violence from occurring in the first place. Sexual Assault Crisis Center sees intervention and prevention as two sides of the same coin. Caroline Lasecki is the Executive Director of the center and she truly puts her heart and soul into her job.
She said, “It’s exhilarating and at times overwhelming but my heart is full, and I am beyond blessed to lead this effort.”
Education is one of the key factors in helping to prevent sexual violence and recognize when it’s happening. The Center’s Prevention Educators reach out to Calumet and Outagamie County public, parochial and private schools and engage in community education efforts.
Most of the community is not aware of what is happening and the more we can educate, the more we can make a difference in changing the lives of victims right in our backyard. Some facts:
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be a victim of sexual violence before their 18th birthday.
- 93% of offenders are known to the victim.
- Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults occur to children ages 17 and under.
- Over 10% of children are sexually abused. When you consider nearly 88% of children never report, the numbers are staggering.
The exploitation of children and its resulting host of negative health outcomes are now recognized as a health epidemic by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexual Assault Crisis Center hosted a GEMS “train the trainer” conference Sept. 22-24 at Fox Valley Technical College. Eighty of their Sexual Assault Response Team partners from Brown, Calumet, Fond du Lac, Outagamie and Winnebago Counties received training in how to recognize youth who are being sexually exploited commercially.
In conjunction with this issue, Outagamie County partners have formed a Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Steering Committee. The steering committee is keeping their group small and manageable. The preliminary community scan will help identify the type of agencies and programs needed to carry out the strategy such as: additional Outagamie County law enforcement agencies, faith community, healthcare providers and hospitals, public and private schools, youth-serving organizations, and shelter programs.
Sexual Assault Crisis Center takes part in all sexual violence discussions. Their services support all victims, including families like Parker’s, by offering:
- 24 Hour Crisis Response
- Personal Advocacy
- Systems Advocacy
- Information and Referral
- Support Groups
- Accessible Services
- Community Outreach and Prevention Education
So the question one may ask: What can I do to help? The Center relies on financial support from the community to be able to provide their services at no cost to clients. Their core value is that no one should be revictimized by worrying about making payments when in a crisis situation. Together we can end sexual violence in the Fox Cities.
On Saturday, October 18, 2014, the Sexual Assault Crisis Center will present its signature fundraiser Shall We Dance at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel. Shall We Dance is an uplifting and entertaining event that increases awareness about sexual assault while helping raise the important funds needed to fulfil its mission.
As a dancer this year and a local community member, I’m so grateful to have such an amazing organization that’s available to the countless victims of sexual violence right here in the Fox Cities. We need to be aware of the reality of what’s happening right under our noses. My main goal as a dancer this year is to raise awareness. It was scary to see the stunned looks on the faces of those I reached out to, but also a sense of relief that awareness is being raised.
Together we can make a difference. To support Christina and learn more, visit to www.sacc-foxcities.org/shall-we-dance.
Sexual Assault Crisis Center has 2 locations: 17 Park Place, Suite 400; Appleton and 107 South Side Shopping Center, Chilton
24-Hour Crisis Response: 920-733-8119 or 1-800-722-7797
Support Groups for fall 2014 session are formulating now: Elementary Co-Ed Boys’ and Girls, Pre-Adolescent Girls, Pre-Adolescent Boys, Non-Offending Parents and Family Members, Women’s, Men’s, Pre-Adolescent Boys
Sexual Assault Crisis Center–Fox Cities acts on behalf of and in support of the victims/survivors to ensure their interests are represented and their rights upheld. Please, if you or a loved one is the victim of sexual violence, call the Center at 920-733-8119 or 1-800-722-7797.