1. Cop and Donut Jokes
For years, our highly trained social workers, counselors, and advocates went head to head with law enforcement, distrustful of interrogation tactics in a society where rape culture is normalized, unwilling to believe that anyone else might possibly have a victim's best interest in mind. This year we renewed our commitment to foster positive and collaborative relationships with law enforcement, and have since partnered with and provided trainings to some amazing and highly-committed local police departments as well as campus security offices of local colleges and universities. Together we hope to provide a safe and respectful interrogation and legal experience for victims in order to minimize re-traumatizing and victim-blaming.
2. Secret Safe House Status
We're no longer waiting at our doors for victims to come to us, because in reality, we are missing the chance to provide services to some of our most vulnerable populations: people of color, immigrants, members of our LGBTQI community, the elderly, and the disabled. This year, our local government has awarded us a $75,000 grant to implement a pilot project to partner with faith-based groups in two specific communities targeting African-Americans and Hispanics. Over the next 3 years, we plan to expand the implementation of this pilot to all of the other targeted vulnerable populations.
3. The Therapy Couch
While historically, our highly trained and experienced clinical staff has excelled at providing the most effective research-based individualized talk therapy, we are expanding to incorporate a broader and more innovative trauma-informed therapy model for our increasingly diverse victims. We have launched a strategic exploratory committee to identify new psychotherapy techniques and have recently received two mini grants to implement an EMDR program (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing - a powerful and proven psychotherapy technique highly successful in helping people who suffer from trauma), Equine Assisted Sexual Trauma Therapy (In partnership with Central KY Riding For Hope), and expansion of our psycho-educational groups to include elements of yoga and other forms of movement, art, and healing.
It's no longer good enough for us to make the community aware that the pervasive problem of sexual violence exists. We want more. That's right. We want people to step it up a notch and actually feel empowered to own the problem so that we can help prevent it from happening. While most of our funders are interested in funding direct victim services (which is important), we have realigned staffing and resources to invest in Green Dot prevention education with schools, colleges, and community partners. We recently applied for a grant with our local Junior League (cross your fingers) to implement a 900 Second Campaign (who doesn't have 900 seconds, right?) where we train women leaders in the community to become ambassadors equipped to give high-powered and effective 15-minute spiels to businesses and community groups about tangible and practical ways to intervene in high-risk situations.
5. Case Management
Who are we to "manage" anyone? Especially anyone who has recently been stripped of all of their power and decision-making. While we recognize the importance of providing continual support (beyond counseling) to victims who may have ongoing needs regarding safety and the legal process, we will be broadening the scope of our advocacy work to incorporate research-based and up-to-date techniques for not only individual advocacy, but also systems advocacy, in hopes of getting to the root of government and organizational rules and policies that adversely impact the eradication of sexual violence and/or harm victims.
6. Proprietary Rights
You heard it hear first. This rape crisis center is giving up ownership of the problem (and hope for a solution) of rape and sexual violence. It has never been clearer to the 16 of us, covering 17 counties in central Kentucky, that we are nothing without the communities who house and support our work. We all envision a world free of all forms of violence and oppression. We all want to live in communities that offer safety and compassion. We all believe that it’s possible for people to live in empowering relationships characterized by respect and equality. We will no longer carry this alone. We share this hope with you.
For more information on how you can join the movement, please visit the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center, at www.bluegrassrapecrisis.org.