How will money raised at this event help people?
We’re an independent non-profit and offer sexual assault victims therapy, advocacy, forensic nursing, and prevention through education. We also see children who have been sexually abused. All these services are free; this money will help us continue.
Is there much need for your services?
Absolutely. Just in June we saw 182 therapy clients, had 123 hotline calls, and 17 forensic nursing exams. On average, we teach prevention programs to about 900 Knox County students a month.
Is there a particular group where most sexual assaults occur?
There’s no real pattern—it’s all different scenarios and situations. Sexual assault is really a crime of power and control; it preys on the vulnerable, so we see children who are sexually abused, the elderly, men and women. It’s not even particularly tied to lower income, not when we’re seeing students from local universities. It is more typically an acquaintance; 85-90 percent of the victims who come in here know the perpetrator.
If the assault was a while ago, can a victim still get services?
Oh yeah. It could have happened a year ago, 10 years ago. We’re here to help when the victim is ready. A person might call us because they’re suffering from post-traumatic stress symptoms, which can entail nightmares, depression, anxiety or an inability to function.
If a friend isn’t ready to come to Safe Haven, what can you do?
It’s important to believe them if they disclose an assault—don’t blame them, and encourage them to at the very least seek therapy, even if they’re afraid to report it.
You don’t require anyone to press charges?
We don’t encourage or discourage.
This event on Saturday won’t be serious, will it?
Not at all! It’ll be very upbeat and family friendly, with live bands and food. A fun day, untraumatic.
Safe Haven Saturday, July 17, 2 p.m.-1 a.m. at Relix Variety Theatre, 1208 N. Central
Safe Haven 24 hour Crisis Line 522-7273; toll free 888-522-5244; daytime 558-9040, safehavencenter.org