Sexual Assault Awareness Program Coming to Fort Scott

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Safehouse Crisis Center is hosting several awareness, educational, and support programs throughout the month for the southeast Kansas community. Safehouse provides free and confidential advocacy, shelter, and therapy services to victims and survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and human trafficking in seven counties in southeast Kansas. Safehouse will be honoring the national awareness month with free programming for area survivors and community members. 
The awareness month will begin with the “What Were You Wearing?” Survivor Art Installation on Wednesday April 3rd, at the Pittsburg Public Library from 3:00pm – 7:00pm. The Art Installation originated at the University of Arkansas in 2013 and was inspired by Dr. Mary Simmerling’s poem, What I Was Wearing. The Installation asks participants to understand that it was never about the clothing and the act of shedding those clothes is never enough to bring peace or comfort to survivors. The violation is not simply woven in to the fabric of the material, it is a part of the survivor’s new narrative. If only ending sexual violence was as easy as changing our clothes. Instead it requires all of us to evaluate what enabled us as individuals and as a society to ask, “what were you wearing?” in the first place. Attendees can walk through the display anytime between 3:00pm and 7:00pm. The display will also be traveling to Fort Scott and be on display for community members at the Fort Scott Public Library Friday April 12th from 1:00pm5:00pm and Saturday April 13th from 9:00am12:00pm. 
Throughout the month, local southeast Kansas libraries will have sexual assault awareness book displays. Check out the library closest to you that is participating: the Pittsburg Public Library, the PSU Axe Library, the Girard Public Library, the Weir Public Library, the Fort Scott Public Library, the La Cygne Library, the Pleasanton Lincoln Library, and the Coffeyville Public Library. 
On Thursday April 18th, Safehouse will be hosting a Rara Rocks Painting Party at 6:00pm at the Pittsburg Public Library. Rara’s Rocks was started by Tamara Suguitan (nickname Rara), a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence. She shared her story with Rara Rocks, a platform to provide healing and comfort to sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. The mission of Rara’s Rocks is to spread awareness for sexual and domestic violence, the free support the community provides, and to let survivors know they are not alone. Rara’s motto is, “Heal when you reveal your ‘rocks’.” Each rock resembles a person because we are all works of art. 
An important part of healing from sexual violence is learning to regain a sense of calm and safety in our lives and in our bodies. In the past decade, research has shown that yoga can also have a strong impact on the healing processes of many survivors of trauma. On Saturday April 20th Safehouse is partnering with Balanced Life Yoga to provide a free trauma-informed yoga class from 2:00pm – 3:00pm at the Eclectic Soul Studio in Pittsburg.
Safehouse will also be hosting a survivor writing workshop series called Write to Empower facilitated by advocates and local community writing professionals. The first workshop on Monday April 15th will focus on Safety, the second on Monday April 22nd will focus on empowerment, and the final workshop on Monday April 29th will focus on healing. All workshops take place at the Pittsburg Public Library from 6:00pm – 7:30pm. Attendees do not have to attend all workshops, but area encouraged to do so. 
Community members may attend a free Lunch & Learn about the Dynamics of Sexual Violence on Wednesday April 24th from 12:00pm – 1:00pm at the Pittsburg Fire Department Training Room at 911 W. 4th Street. Attendees bring their own lunch and Safehouse brings the education. 
For more information about Safehouse awareness and educational programs, contact Ali Smith, Prevention Education Specialist at 620-231-8692. Safehouse also encourages you to reach out to community and campus groups also providing free programming for Sexual Assault Awareness Month such as Ascension Via Christi (620-231-6100), the Children’s Advocacy Center (620-235-0067), PSU’s Students for Violence Prevention (620-235-4831), PSU’s Student Alliance for Gender Equality (620-235-4512), and the Southeast Kansas National Organization for Women (SEK NOW) [email protected]

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