DIRECTIONS! Support & Advocacy Services, a program of Community Mental Health Center, Inc., will again host their annual Take Back the Night event.
This year’s event, featuring the theme “Human Trafficking – Youth at Risk,” begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9, at the Dearborn Adult Center, 311 Tate Street, Lawrenceburg.
The Directions! event is held during national Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to promote awareness of sexual assault and related crimes and the impact of these crimes on society. According to a recent National Crime Victim Research study, one in six women and men in Indiana are victims of rape. Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicate that nearly 2,000 cases of rape occur annually. Eighty percent of sex crimes are perpetrated by assailants known to the victim.
Take Back the Night is a national campaign to bring greater awareness to the violent crimes of rape and sexual assault. 2015 marks the ninth consecutive year Directions! has hosted their event. Join with family, friends, co-workers and community leaders to reclaim the night from sexual predators. This event is free and open to the public.
The evening features inspirational messages from survivors and information on key strategies to use when confronted by sexual predators. Participants also learn how to help raise awareness in their communities about rape and sexual assault and about how to make a difference in the lives of survivors. Dinner is provided, and door prizes will be awarded. A silent auction of a variety of items will be held throughout the evening.
Special guest featured speakers for the evening are Jennifer Thuma, Indiana Attorney General’s Office Department of Victim Services and Outreach, and Aaron Negangard, Prosecutor for Dearborn and Ohio Counties. Ms. Thuma will kick off the night with a presentation titled “Human Trafficking – Youth at Risk.” Ms. Thuma will discuss human trafficking in Indiana and how youth are targeted and seduced into the sex trafficking trade. Prosecutor Negangard will follow with a discussion of human trafficking in our area and how drugs, alcohol, the Internet, and emotional stressors put youth at risk. There will be ample time for questions following each presentation.
The Clothesline Project will again be on display, as well. Originating in Massachusetts in 1990, The Clothesline Project now encompasses more than 500 communities and several foreign countries. It has become a worldwide campaign bringing awareness to violence against women. Shirts featured in the display were created by survivors and family members and friends of survivors in our communities. The Clothesline Project offers a visual tribute to the courage of all survivors.
Rape and sexual assault are grossly underreported crimes in the United States. Only about 40% of rapes are reported to law enforcement. Sexual violence as well as domestic violence are “crimes of silence” and as such leave victims to suffer alone in the shadows. According to the World Health Organization, victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression and are four times more likely to contemplate suicide.
Human traffickers targeting youth is becoming widespread. Youth of all social, economic, and cultural backgrounds are at risk. Information and safety tips for parents and teens will be passed out at the end of the evening.
If you or someone you know is a victim of rape or sexual assault, please do not hesitate to seek help. To access Directions! 24-hour confidential crisis services, please call 812-537-1302 or, toll-free, 877-849-1248.
For more information on sexual violence, Directions! Support & Advocacy Services, or to inquire about volunteer opportunities as a Directions! advocate, contact Catherine Dwyer at (812) 532-3470, or e-mail Ms. Dwyer at Cathy.Dwyer@cmhcinc.org. Information also is posted on the SAS website at www.rapecrisissas.org. The SAS website features information on a variety of resources, including the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), which has a hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) that directs calls made from the local area to the Directions! program.
All CMHC services are provided without regard to race, religion, disability, gender, color, age, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political belief, status as a veteran, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.