Every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. Most of these victims are women; one of every six women has been a victim of attempted or completed rape. But men are assaulted as well.
Being a survivor of sexual assault means you are more likely to experience depression, anxiety and other post-traumatic stress symptoms. These effects are lasting, with 30 percent of survivors experiencing symptoms of PTSD nine months after the assault. (These numbers come from rainn.org.)
The Rape Crisis Center provides services to survivors of sexual assault in Horry and Georgetown counties. All of our services are provided at no cost to our clients. Our hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, so survivors (or their loved ones) can call at any time of day or night to speak with someone who can provide crisis intervention, emotional support, information, and referrals.
We also respond to the hospitals in the area any time a survivor reports to the emergency room after an assault. We accompany the survivor through that process and provide any support she might need, as well as letting her know what services we can provide. After an assault, we can provide legal advocacy and accompaniment—meaning we will go with them to the police or to court if they want—and we also have counselors on staff who provide individual and group therapy for survivors and their loved ones.
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We provide support and services to survivors, whether the assault just happened or whether it happened many years ago.
We also have community and school education programs that we can offer to help educate, advocate, and hopefully prevent assaults.
Additionally, in our area, there has been a constant growth seen in the Hispanic community. That means we need a way to provide services for Hispanic survivors of sexual assault, often in Spanish. To this end, I have recently joined the staff as a bilingual counselor. This allows us to reach more survivors and provide them with the help and support that they need when faced with such a traumatic situation.
Finding a bilingual counselor in the area is difficult, so we are glad to be able to provide this service to our clients.
More information about the Rape Crisis Center can be found on our website at victimtosurvivor.org. The 24-hour hotline number is (843) 448-7273. Our office number is (843) 448-3180.
Our doors are open for all survivors of sexual assault, as well as for their family members.
The writer is the bilingual counselor and victim advocate for the Rape Crisis Center, which serves Horry and Georgetown counties.