Letter to the Editor

Good Neighbor Fund helps CAASA

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Our agency was pleasantly surprised by a donation we received from the Good Neighbor Fund of the Okoboji and Spirit Lake territories.†We want to openly express our thanks to everyone who may have donated to such a cause.

Centers Against Abuse & Sexual Assault (CAASA) provides services to sexual assault/abuse survivors by offering 24-hour crisis intervention services, crisis counseling services, transportation services, information and referral services, legal and personal advocacy mentoring and other additional services for victims of abuse. All of the services we provide are free to victims of abuse. The funds CAASA received will go directly back to victim services.

Annually, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). This year's theme, "Engaging New Voices" builds on the idea that we are stronger together and that new organizations and community members are needed to expand sexual assault prevention efforts and help the next generation foster attitudes that promote healthy relationships, equality and respect.

Nearly one in five women and one in 71 men are victims of sexual assault (Black et al., 2011), but all of us are impacted by sexual violence not only during the month of April, but throughout the year.

Everyone understands that sexual violence impacts victims and their families, but the effects of this violent crime on communities and society are less obvious. Sexual violence creates a climate of fear, anger, and/or disbelief in the workplaces, campuses and communities that it occurs in. Additionally, sexual violence generates criminal justice fees and medical crisis costs as well as mental health service expenses. Perhaps most damaging are the lost contributions of survivors.

Preventing such a far-reaching and prevalent social issue as sexual violence may seem overwhelming or even impossible. This mentality implies that there isnít a solution ó or if there is, we canít achieve it. But we can, and we are. There are many practical steps that are currently being taken in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, faith communities and workplaces. But there are many more things we can do to promote safety, respect and accountability.

Prevention starts with challenging victim-blaming and believing survivors when they disclose. Individuals can model supportive relationships and behaviors, call out harmful attitudes, and challenge the societal acceptance of rape. Communities and businesses can take action to implement policies that promote safety, respect and equality. CAASA provides all of these services, presentations and information to our local businesses free of charge.

Please join us in helping everyone see their role in preventing sexual violence the rest of the year as well. Once again, we are grateful to the donors of the Good Neighbor fund! Thank you so much for your generous contribution to Victim Services. You can learn more by contacting (CAASA) Centers Against Abuse and Sexual Assault at 1-877-362-4612.

Misty Wolf