April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

April marks Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.  Weems Memorial Hospital has been a part of Franklin County’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) for more than 10 years, providing a coordinated, survivor-focused response to the needs of sexual assault victims.

Weems features a designated room in the Emergency Department equipped for medical staff to administer medical attention to sexual assault victims. According to Director of Nursing Courtney Alford, Weems nurses are equipped to handle medical situations involving cases of sexual abuse. Beyond medical attention, Alford said Weems medical staff compassionately assist sexual assault victims by providing victim advocate resource information.

“We coordinate with other SART partners to make sure sexual assault victims have all the resource information they need to move forward as they recover physically,” Alford said.

Other local SART partners in Franklin County include victim advocates with the Refuge House, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and the Office of the State Attorney.

Refuge House is the domestic and sexual violence center for Franklin County and the seven neighboring counties in north Florida including Leon, Gadsden, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla. The mission of Refuge House is to provide direct services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and to their children and families, as well as to eliminate such violence through community education and public advocacy. The group offer guidance and encouragement for families and friends worried about a daughter, sister, child, or parent. You can reach them on their 24 Hour Hotline at (800) 500-1119 or visit their website www.refugehouse.com.

Domestic violence and sexual assault affect thousands of women, children and men in the U.S. every year.  According to the National Sexual Assault Hotline, younger people are at the highest risk of sexual violence. Nationally, one in six women in the United States has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.  Men are not immune. According to the statistics, one out of every 10 rape victims are male.