MURRIETA – From Hollywood to Washington, scandals involving sexual assault are plaguing the nation. For years, women have kept deep dark secrets of sexual abuse and misconduct from surfacing due to a number of factors. Those brave women who have recently come forward to tell their story are just a small sampling of the staggering number of victims who experience this kind of abuse on a regular basis. But this abuse just doesn’t happen to women in the bright lights of Hollywood or some big city; it happens all over America and throughout small towns from coast to coast.
This is where Circle of Safe-T comes in to assist. As a local nonprofit organization, Circle of Safe-T provides a vital service within the community by helping victims of sexual assault, abuse, domestic violence and strangulation by organizing the efforts of forensic-trained registered nurses for the collection of evidence who will treat people with dignity and further assist in coordinating for help through local victim support services.
“Victims face very real dangers and express concerns about disclosing the events that occurred, especially when they are related to domestic violence,” Sarah Marin, RN and Sexual Assault Response Team coordinator at Southwest Healthcare System’s Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta, said. “We work closely with local law enforcement, the Family Justice Center, SAFE Alternatives for Everyone, Riverside Area Rape Crisis, Center Against Sexual Assault, and the District Attorney’s Office to provide victims whatever help and support they need.”
Approximately 60 percent of sexual assaults are never reported to police, according to the Rape, Assault and Incest National Network in 2009. Circle of Safe-T hopes to decrease this percentage, but victims have the right to decline speaking with law enforcement officials and will receive support regardless of their decision. Victims also have the right to privacy, to evidence collection, to be treated with compassion and dignity, to be educated about sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, to be tested for HIV and to receive follow-up care. Circle of Safe-T’s program has helped approximately 400 sexual assault victims within the southwest Riverside County area since August 2012 and may help play a role in bringing some perpetrators to justice. Circle of Safe-T is sponsored in part by Southwest Healthcare System’s Rancho Springs Medical Center.
For more information or to make a donation, visit www.circleofsafe-t.com or call (951) 696-6161 or (951) 600-4334.