Don't leave victims in dark

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By The Staff

Can you name one person who has not been exposed to some type of violence? In today’s society it is normal for all of us to be exposed to some type of violence.

Violence is displayed in or outside of your home. It is depicted through television, video games or simple everyday living. There is no escaping it.

Palmetto Citizens Against Sexual Assault goals are to increase cooperative efforts to investigate and prosecute incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault, while increasing community awareness associated with the problems of both, along with facilitating and addressing the problems to the community.

PCASA’s efforts in Lancaster County has allowed the agency to hire a project coordinator to oversee the project, an investigator to investigate and follow up on domestic violence and criminal sexual assault cases, a specialized doctor to perform medical examinations, along with an assistant solicitor to prosecute cases.

With this grant we hope to prosecute more cases involving domestic violence and criminal sexual assault crimes.

April was Sexual Awareness Month. As we recognize this month and all months we must always remember the needs of our survivors and the community of these sexual crimes. The victims are often forgotten and left in the dark. We must take a stand and be the voice by educating ourselves.

Based on the report in 2008 National Center for Victims of Crime Resource, 9 percent of violent crimes reported were that of domestic violence. Of these crimes; 73,470 were sexual assaults and rapes. Palmetto Citizens Against Sexual Assault’s cumulative annual report, which includes Lancaster, Chester and Fairfield counties, documented 504 sexual assault victims, with 137 being children between the ages of 2-18 years of age. With our Children’s Advocacy Center, which specializes in children of sexual assault and physical abuse, we are able to provide a safe and child friendly facility, to collect evidence for prosecution.

As a way of providing community awareness, we are available to provide and facilitate information on rape, date rape, sexual assault and recognizing signs of physical and sexual abuse of children. Our services are available to the community free of charge. We especially recommend these services to daycare providers. You may contact our office at (803) 286-5232. We would also like to take the time out to invite the community to the fourth annual Child Safety Day, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 7 at Lancaster High School. This is a day of education and awareness to protect the children in our community. Please come out and enjoy a family fun day!

Kemesha Lowey is project coordinator for Palmetto Citizens Against Sexual Assault.