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Edwards SARC to support victims

3/25/2010 – EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — The month of April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.

The Edwards Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and Victim Advocates are organizing a shoe drive set for April 2 to support children, women and men who have been victims of sexual assault.

Some people may wonder how donated shoes can help these victims. The answer is simple. One of the first things to occur in an investigation is the forensic examination. A critical part of the exam is the collection of the victim’s clothing and shoes for evidence, which are retained by investigators.

To care for and support victims of sexual assault, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office on Edwards collaborates with the Antelope Valley Sexual Assault Response Team and the Valley Oasis Rape Crisis Center.

The Valley Oasis Rape Crisis Center, which has more than enough clothes to support victims, is often not able to provide a pair of shoes to a victim after an examination because they are not donated often enough.

The Edwards Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and Victim Advocates need Edwards’ residents and employees help with their donations of shoes. Shoes in good condition can be dropped off in front of the Base Exchange on April 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All shoes will be taken to the Valley Oasis Rape Crisis Center. Donations will help victims walk into new chapters of their lives as they heal from their traumatic experiences.

Sexual assault can take many forms–it is any unwanted sexual contact, including rape, attempted rape and child sexual abuse. It can affect people of any gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or ability.

According to the National Violence Against Women Survey, 1 in every 6 American women has been the victim of a rape or an attempted rape. Although women primarily report assaults, men as well as children are victims as well. Over the past six months 88 children under the age of 18, 19 men and 111 women have used the services of the Antelope Valley SART.

To contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator to report an assault, please call the 24-hour hotline number at (661)209-0115. For answers to any questions regarding the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program call 661-277-7272 or email Kimberly.shirley@edwards.af.mil.

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