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Brunswick County residents seeking sexual assault counseling and assistance now have a local resource that can help.
The Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons Center Inc. in Wilmington is opening a Brunswick County office this week. The office is at 20 Medical Campus Drive, Suite 103 in Supply.
“With the neutral location, [clients] won’t have as far to travel and it will be more likely that they will reach out and come to us,” Amy Feath, Coastal Horizons director, said. “Not everyone can get to Wilmington in the county. We’ll be a local resource.”
Feath said current statistics show one in four women and one in seven men have been, or will be, the victim of sexual assault. The Rape Crisis Center provides free, confidential services for victims of all ages, family, and friends.
The center offers 24-hour crisis response, where those needing assistance can call anytime and talk to someone. The response line provides emotional support, emergency support, information and advocacy. Feath said by calling the response line, victims can request a counselor accompany them to the hospital for an examination or simply call to talk to someone about what they experienced. A counselor is on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The center offers group-counseling sessions for women, teens and non-offending parents. This is an opportunity for people with similar situations to talk about their experiences and share feelings, concerns and information.
Individual counseling is also available for victims, family members and friends. No one is denied service, and Feath explained some victims may not be ready to talk until years after an assault. Some victims’ family members may have just as hard of a time dealing with the aftermath of the experience.
“There are a lot of people working with that sexual violence victim, we’re here to help advocate and help that one through,” she said.
The Rape Crisis Center can help rape victims with medical treatment and payment information. Feath said victims of sexual assault should never deny medical treatment because of fear of cost.
“We do try to work with them so cost is not a hindrance,” she said. “As a victim of crime you should be able to be medically examined without being held accountable for it.”
Feath said there are government assistance programs that The Rape Crisis Center can help victims apply for, which will not only pay for after-care, but long-term assistance. Many victims are unable to return to work right after the incident and often lose wages.
If the victim is interested in pressing charges or pursuing legal matters, counselors at the center can help with both the legal process and emotional support.
“If someone does not want counseling but wants me to go to court with them, that’s fine. I’ve gone with many people to court appearances,” Latisha Webb, rape crisis/advocate said.
In addition to rape crisis support services, The Rape Crisis Center offers community outreach support programs.
Ebony Robinson, advocate educator, said she has presented programs at many places such as schools, police and fire departments and town meetings.
All services are confidential and free of charge. Feath said The Crisis Center does not force anyone who seeks services to also receive medical treatment or take legal action.
“We simply want to give them the most options possible,” she said and added that walking through the door of the center is the first step.
“They need to not be afraid or ashamed and when they’re ready to call us for counseling support services,” she said. “When you walk across the threshold of a rape crisis center, you’re admitting you’ve been a victim of this. We recognize it’s a very overwhelming issue for some folks to deal with. No matter when they ready, we make no judgment about it and will meet them where they are.”
Those needing assistance or more information can call The Crisis Hotline at (910) 392-7408 or toll free at (800)-672-2903.