Attendees of this year’s fundraiser luncheon for the Rape Crisis Center will hear from a woman who is doing her part to help heal survivors of prostitution, trafficking and addiction.
Becca Stevens will be the keynote speaker at the event on Thursday, April 20, 11:30 a.m. at Byrne Hall at Spring Hill College. Jan Preslar, division manager of the Rape Crisis Center, said Stevens will do a great job raising awareness of the struggle these survivors face and the good organizations like the Rape Crisis Center are doing in the community.
“Sometimes we’re not aware of what’s going on,” Preslar said. “You don’t hear about us until you need us.”
Stevens is founder and president of Thistle Farms, a community of female survivors in Nashville. It provides a two-year residency program, social enterprises employing survivors as well as an education and outreach program for the public.
“She is doing such great work both in Nashville and internationally,” Preslar said of Stevens. “She brings a message of hope.”
Preslar said Stevens will bring two Thistle Farms residents with her as part of the program. The women will be part of the program and also sell goods they’ve made on the farm, Preslar said.
Currently, Stevens is in Europe attempting to set up safe zones in refugee camps where sexual assaults have been prevalent, Preslar said.
“She is developing programs for women to take care of themselves,” she said.
The Rape Crisis Center, a program of Lifelines Counseling Service, is celebrating its 41st anniversary this year, Preslar said. The center provides a 24-hour crisis line and hospital accompaniment to sexual assault victims and others. The center also offers counseling and law enforcement interviews, as well as accompaniment to court dates for as long as they are needed, Preslar said. They are also assisting the Mobile Police Department in testing a backlog of rape kits.
The center provides outreach as well to local public and private schools on bullying, boundaries and safe relationships, she added.
Preslar said the Rape Crisis Center helps women, children and men. Of their clients, about 10 percent are male. Last year, the center saw 186 clients in local hospitals.
The luncheon represents the center’s largest fundraiser of the year. Tickets are still available; they cost $40 and can be purchased by calling 251-602-0909. The money raised will help the Rape Crisis Center secure matching funds for grants, Preslar said, and help cover its operations.