First Coast Connect: Local Safe Haven For Sexual Assault Survivors
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and a local nonprofit organization is a lifeline for survivors of sexual assault, as the only certified rape crisis center for Duval, Baker and Nassau counties.
The Women’s Center of Jacksonville offers advocacy, support and education to women and men who have survived sexual assault. Executive Director Teresa Miles and board president Lise Everly talked about what is being done to help survivors Monday on First Coast Connect.
“From the moment they walk in our door, they are a survivor, and we’re going to hopefully help them change the path from victimization to being truly survivors,” Miles said.
One in three women has survived some form of sexual violence, and one in six men have been sexually abused, said Everly, who receives over 50 calls a day on its hotline.
“Anytime a woman comes forward publicly … it does have that effect of boldening other women to find their voice,” Everly said.
Miles said the center is expanding its space and services by renovating a building, which will house two waiting rooms, forensic exam rooms, interview rooms, counseling offices, evidence rooms, a nurse’s office and separate entrances for anonymity to provide survivors with a safe, secure and comfortable place for assistance after sexual assault.
“Everybody wants the same end result, which is justice is provided for survivors of sexual violence,” Miles said.
The Nassau County Sexual Assault Response Team will accept a proclamation by the Nassau County Commission at 6 p.m. Monday, at the County Commissioners Office, 96135 Nassau Place Suite #1 Yulee, FL 32097.