Marissa Ventrelli
KU Statehouse News Service
According to RAINN, someone is sexually assaulted every 92 seconds in the United States. However, it is estimated that only about a quarter of all sexual assault cases end up being reported to the police. Unfortunately, sexual and domestic assault remain one of the most harmful and common acts of violence in the United States.
With the recent discussion of House Bill 2079 at the Kansas Statehouse, the number of reported sexual assaults and batteries will most likely increase as spouses can now be legally defined as perpetrators of sexual battery in the state of Kansas. This comes at a time when about one in three women have experienced a form of physical violence at the hands of their partner.
Despite these statistics, there is hope for those affected by sexual or domestic violence. Here are three organizations in northeastern Kansas that provide support and resources to assault victims:
The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence in Topeka was founded in 1982 and currently runs 26 different independent coalitions throughout the state. Each coalition provides direct services to clients who have experienced sexual or domestic violence. These services include psychological and legal assistance as well as social work programs and instruction on how to work with local law enforcement. There are two KCSDV coalitions in Lawrence; one at the Sexual Trauma and Abuse Center (contact at 785-843-8985) and one at the Willow Domestic Violence Center (contact via phone at 785-843-3333 or online at www.willowdvcenter.org/)
Options Domestic and Sexual Violence Services offers a wide variety of options for assistance. These include support groups, community education groups, youth services and access to temporary housing or safe sheltering along with food, clothing and other necessities, which can be accessed at their Hays location or remotely via the internet.
Hope House, located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was opened in 1983 with a mission to “break the cycle of domestic violence by providing safe refuge and supportive services that educate and empower those impacted by domestic violence.”
Services provided by Hope House include a staff of highly-trained therapists, a full-time court advocate who assists victims with legal cases, a shelter with 122 beds. Hope House offers several programs off-location, such as the BridgeSPAN Program, which helps to train healthcare professionals in local hospitals and medical facilities to screen for signs of domestic abuse and how to better care for victims.
There is also a children’s program which serves at-risk children and children from abusive households. The program focuses on important aspects including self-esteem, conflict resolution, and safety planning, as well as providing transportation to school and vaccinations if needed. House of Hope’s domestic abuse hotline can be reached at 816-461-4673.
Marissa Ventrelli is a University of Kansas junior from Chicago majoring in journalism.