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Crisis center to raise funds to fight sexual assault PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 March 2017 09:59

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By ROBERT PIERCE

• Leader & Times



April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and locally, the Liberal Area Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Services agency has many things planned to help observe the event, starting with its annual fundraiser on April 8.

The fundraiser will take place at Seward County Community College, with the doors opening at 6 p.m. and dinner served immediately.

“From approximately 6 to 7:15 or so will be dinner and the silent auction,” said LARC/DVS Director Lori Hensley. “We’re going to close part of the silent auction in pieces so we can have stuff figured.”

The evening’s keynote speaker will be author Julia Laughlin, who wrote the book, “The River and the Sea.” Hensley said Laughlin is a sexual assault and torture survivor.

“She has a testimony of healing that you won’t want to miss,” Hensley said.

When Laughlin is done speaking, Hensley said people can check out their silent auction items in order to find out how much they spent.

“Last year, we didn’t have that break in between,” she said. “We’ll have a break in between, and we’ll probably start the live auction about 8:15, 8:30. We’d like to be done by 9:15 or so and by the time we get everybody checked out and everything, be completely finished by 10 o’clock.”

The evening likewise will bring some live music during the dinner from Cassie Nutt and the band No Other Way, who Hensley said performed at last year’s fundraiser.

“We have a young group that will be playing live music from 6:30 to about 7:15,” she said. “Cassie’s going to sing. We’ll have Julia speak. We’ll do the raffle. We’ll introduce the staff and the board so people know who the staff and the board are. From that point on, we’ll take off and do the live auction.”

This is LARC/DVS’s eighth annual fundraiser, and Hensley said though the event started out small, it has grown throughout the years.

“The first few years were pretty small,” she said. “We had just silent auction, live auction with a few items, and it’s really grown. The best one we would’ve had would be 2015, and we just had a really good year that year. That was before we had so much crash with the oil and gas in town. Last year and what we’re going to be projecting for this year are going to be very similar. I’m going to say we’ve done well. We started out with a few thousand dollars, and one year, we made almost $16,000. Last year, it kind of backed off to about $12,000. If we can clear $10,000 to $12,000, I’ll feel like we’ve done a really good job.”

Hensley emphasized Laughlin’s presentation will be awesome.

“It’s about healing,” he said. “Even though she’s a sexual assault trauma survivor, her story is about healing. The title of her book is ‘The River And The Sea: A Story Of Forgiveness.’ She talks about the forgiveness. There’s only one chapter in here where she really talks about the rape and the torture. The rest of it, the entire rest of the book is about the healing process that she went through. The river and the sea is where the river and the sea converge in New Zealand, where she went and found her healing point.”

Tickets for the fundraiser are $20 and can be purchased at LARC/DVS at 111 E. Second Street or by calling 624-2774.

The remainder of April has plenty of events taking place for the Sexual Assault Awareness Month observance.

“There’ll be a large display at the library inside and outside,” Hensley said. “This year, we are representing all of the survivors of sexual assault that we have provided services to in the six-county area, and that is 88. We are going to have 88 of the purple ribbons out, which represents each and one of those survivors that we’ve provided service to last year.”

Next Thursday, LARC/DVS will host its CRC Lunch and Learn from noon to 1 at First Christian Church in Liberal.

“We are inviting the public to come to that,” Hensley said. “We provide lunch, and it’s going to be lunch and learn about our services and what we do in providing sexual assault services.”

A similar presentation will take place later in the month at high schools in Sublette, Elkhart and Ulysses.

Elkhart will be the home of a movie night for LARC/DVS on April 18, as will SCCC on April 25. The SCCC movie night will feature the film “It Happened Here” about sexual assaults that have happened on college campuses.

Hensley said on April 20, the college will play host to a sexual assault discussion panel.

“In that panel group will be a representative from Southwest Guidance Center, one from the police department, one from the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program, Southwest Sexual Assault Services, a representative from the college and one from our agency,” she said. “There’ll be five of us on that panel. We’re going to be providing information, and we’re going to open it up to questions. The public is invited that night.”

Another activity observing Sexual Assault Awareness Month is Denim Day. That celebration began in 1999, when an Italian High Court overturned a rape conviction declaring that, because the victim wore very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans, it was no longer rape but consensual sex.

This became known throughout Italy as the “jeans alibi,” and enraged by the verdict, women in the Italian Parliament protested the ruling by wearing jeans on the steps of Parliament. As news of this decision spread, so did the protest. Los Angeles joined in, and a campaign was born.

“Now we observe Denim Day in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” Hensley said. “We’re promoting to businesses in town that for a fee, they let their staff wear jeans on April 26 or a given day that they chose.”

Last year, Hensley said the local campaign raised $1,000, and she said as Denim Day receives more and more promotion, the participation level grows.

Hensley would like to remind the public of her agency’s new location at 111 E. Second Street. Office hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 Monday through Friday.

LARC/DVS likewise has a Women’s Support group starting at 7 p.m. every Tuesday at the center.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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