Letter to the editor: be there for a friend

By Judith Rosen, Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team development director.

The Women’s Resource Center just gave SOU students a huge gift.  They donated proceeds from their production of The Vagina Monologues to support the free services of the Jackson County SART (Sexual Assault Response Team).

How does this affect you?

None of us likes to think that we’re vulnerable.  But college students face some high risks.  A big one is sexual assault.  A startling 1 in 5 undergraduate women will be raped or experience an attempted rape during her college years (U. S. Centers for Disease Control).  So will a number of men.

Even if you don’t think this could happen to you, there’s a strong chance it could happen to someone you know.  So be a good friend.  Know what services are out there to help victims heal.

1)  Free, compassionate and confidential medical care is available from specially-trained nurses within 7 days of a sexual assault at any Jackson County hospital emergency room.  For more information:  www.jacksoncountysart.org.

2)  The Ashland Police Department has a new program, “You Have Options,” that focuses on getting victims the care and services they need and lets them decide how, when and if they wish to report to police.  Even if a victim decides not to have her or his own case investigated, information s/he provides could help other victims of the same assailant.  Go to www.ReportingOptions.org.

3)  Our free healing group, SASH (Sexual Assault Survivors’ Healing), meets in both Ashland and Medford to help support women’s recovery.  Call (541) 951-0859.

The WRC has stepped forward to help make sure that SOU students who are sexually assaulted will have the support and free care they need.  You can help too by spreading word of these services – or just by knowing they exist and being there for a friend.

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