Sexual Assault Services (SAS) and Bronson Battle Creek have received a $50,000 grant to support a community education and prevention program through Calhoun County Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (SADVCC).
The grant dollars, provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) will go toward educating middle, high school, and college students; and engaging community professionals and citizens about preventing sexual and domestic violence in Calhoun County.
“Sadly violence is wide-spread in our county,” says Joyce Siegel, LMSW, program manager for Sexual Assault Services at Bronson Battle Creek. “Last year alone, there were more than 2,600 calls to SAFE Place for services regarding domestic violence. At Sexual Assault Services, 441 survivors of sexual violence received counseling services from us; 174 of them were children.”
The SADVCC has chosen October 2013 to participate in National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to address violence against women. The grant from WKKF was awarded to the council through SAS to engage young men to assist women in ending the violence.
“Male educators who teach or mentor young men are highly effective at reaching this audience,” said David Gilbert, Calhoun County prosecutor. “They can teach about how to intervene as bystanders and how to think about healthy relationships in our current culture.”
“Girls and women also benefit from this kind of education, understanding that it is important to have male allies,” added Siegel. “This program is intended to engage Calhoun County in the fight to end domestic and sexual violence.”
The grant allows for SAS to bring in national expert speakers in 2013-14 who will educate and motivate parents and community members. One of the goals of the Coordinating Council is to work with the high schools to provide time for students to attend meetings during school hours. The student education portion of this grant program will include not only domestic and sexual violence, but also will add the dynamics of bullying, gender violence, and elder abuse.
If you would like more information about the countywide initiative to prevent and reduce sexual and domestic violence, please contact Joyce Siegel Sexual Assault Services, (269) 245-3925.
Sexual Assault Services, a department of Bronson Battle Creek, provides comprehensive services to victims of sexual assault and abuse.