From Buncombe HHS
Although we just passed the 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the issue has been part of societies for much longer than that. As long as there have been people who care about helping others, there have been people speaking out against sexual assault and violence.
Movements for social change and equality began in the 1950s but discussions of sexual assault were largely left out of these movements as they were seen as taboo. It would take another decade to bring the issue to the forefront of any conversation. Social advocacy continued into the 1970s when the first rape crisis clinic was founded in San Francisco in 1971. It was followed by the first Take Back the Night March, also in San Francisco, in 1978. As survivors and advocates continued to push for more awareness and funding, the legislature finally passed the Violence Against Women Act in 1993 and a national anti-sexual violence organization was born. We know that sexual violence impacts all genders and today, there is legislation to ensure protection of all survivors, not just those who identify as women.
In 2000, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center was launched, coordinating efforts across the country to fundraise and influence legislation. They worked with crisis centers across America to educate their communities about sexual assault. From the civil rights movement to the founding of the first rape crisis centers to national legislation, to today, Sexual Assault Awareness has succeeded in making the world a safer place for all of us.
Years of national and local efforts paved the way for Buncombe County and many other communities to open a Family Justice Center (FJC): a safe place where victims of domestic and sexual violence can come for help. At the Buncombe County FJC survivors can access many different services in one location and begin their journey towards hope, healing, and safety. Among the agencies represented at the Buncombe County FJC are OurVOICE, Helpmate, Health and Human Services, Sheriff’s Office, Asheville Police, Mountain Child Advocacy, Mission Health, Buncombe District Attorney, Pisgah Legal, and the YWCA. These agencies combined, offer survivors all the resources they need to find shelter, counseling, seek legal action, and start their journey toward healing. To learn more about the Family Justice Center and the services they offer, click here.