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Rape Counselors of East Alabama raises money for new survivor resource center

Published: Nov. 28, 2021 at 9:10 PM EST
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AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - The holidays are an exciting time of the year, but rape and sexual assault tend to increase during this time, according to Rape Counselors of East Alabama.

The Auburn organization held its annual fundraising event for everyone in the community. More than 20 vendors attended this year’s event, marking its tenth year.

“You know, what we do at Rape Counselors of East Alabama is a very difficult job,” said Vickey Dearing, executive director. “We’ve experienced a lot working with our victims, which we love, and so we wanted to bring some joy into our jobs.”

Dearing says they are hoping the fundraiser brings in $5,000 - $6,000.

“So, all the money that we’ve raised goes toward our victim services program,” Dearing said. “We also provide community outreach and education.”

The biggest push for this year’s fundraiser is a new community resource center for survivors of sexual assault.

The building that sits beside their main office will be used as a place where rape kits can be administered, police interviews conducted, space for a sane room, and also different therapy sessions.

“We’re really going to use it for our community and let them know that they can come have a safe place to heal,” Dearing said.

While people were shopping, eating and spending time together, Outreach and Advocacy Specialist Dondria Williams says the most important goal is making people aware of sexual assault.

“It’s not in the open a lot, Williams explained. “So, people are scared or afraid to talk about. Sexual assault is prevalent and it affects all genders, ages, and races.

Williams says they offer a variety of services for all victims. She says their help doesn’t have a time limit.

“We’ve serviced victims and assaults that happened recently and that currently just happen, but we also service victims who might’ve had a traumatic experience ten years ago.”

If you are in need of any sexual assault services, do not let the holidays prevent you from reaching to get help. The organization’s hotline is available 24 hours a day - just call 334-705-0510.

Rape Counselors of East Alabama is also looking for interns and volunteers.

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