Standing with Charlottesville

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The Orange County Rape Crisis Center works to end sexual violence and its impact for all people. To this end, we are committed to sexual violence survivor support and prevention efforts that address the full spectrum of violence that survivors experience, and the interconnected nature of racial and sexual violence.

The following is a statement from the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) about the recent violence against protesters in Charlottesville, VA. As a member agency of NCCASA and with a commitment to diversity and nondiscrimination, we support their statement.

It is with heavy hearts that we correspond with you all today. This past weekend in Charlottesville, VA, our entire country was impacted by the violence. As a supporter of freedom of speech, I think it is important to distinguish when one person’s rights violates another person’s or group of people’s rights. What happened this weekend is a culmination of violence and privilege which continues to perpetuate a culture of racism and rape. In order to end a culture of rape we must also address all forms of oppression.

I hope as leaders in this movement, we will continue to hold our country in our hearts and lovingly hold ourselves accountable. There is much work to be done, and as consumers of media we too are triggered, and all of our bodies hold trauma. In the midst of all that is happening in our country, I want to continue to work alongside of each of you, so please take care of yourselves. We must take care of ourselves in order to continue to fight for the rights of ALL.

In solidarity,

Monika

NCCASA

The Center maintains a commitment to providing excellent and culturally competent services to survivors of all genders, including support for survivors with complex trauma histories that include racialized violence.

If you or someone you care about could use some support, please get in touch with us via our 24-Hour Help Line or by coming into our office during business hours. No appointment needed.

 


Sexual Assault and Teenagers

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teendepression2013Sexual violence affects all communities, even ours. Recent events and conversations about sexual assault at East Chapel Hill High School remind us of this.

The increased attention on campus sexual assault in the past few years has been a crucial conversation for a university town like ours. Yet the story that has largely been missed is the enormous risk faced by high school teens.

Girls ages 16-19 face four times more risk of being sexually assaulted than the general population (RAINN.org). Boys, too, face an increased risk of sexual assault in childhood and adolescence.

When allegations of sexual assault involving teens surface in the news, it leaves parents, students and teachers scrambling for answers. How do we make sense of this? How can we respond? And what can be done to prevent this? Our community deserves an opportunity to come together for healing and learning. Read more


SafeTouch Success Story

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alexis and puppetsThe Center has presented SafeTouch to kids in our community for over 30 years. These violence prevention education programs use evidence-based best practices in age-appropriate lessons to promote safety and reduce child sexual abuse. The curriculum is continually reviewed and updated with teacher and parent input.

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is unfortunately much more common than many people realize. Darkness to Light (D2L), a national organization to end child abuse, estimates that about 1 in 10 children experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. Even more children experience non-contact sexual abuse. Only about a third of kids tell someone when they experience abuse. CSA occurs across all demographic groups and can have long-lasting negative impacts such as physical and mental health problems, emotional and behavioral issues, and poor academic performance.

Though the problem of CSA looms large, the Center has a successful prevention program on multiple counts. First, by sheer numbers, we are very successful in getting these crucial public safety messages out to the county. We present SafeTouch programs in every classroom of every elementary school in both local school districts. Overall, we reached 14,805 youth and adults in 865 education programs during the 2013-2014 school year. Read more


SAAM Online Activism: Use Your Hashtag for Good

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activistforchangeThis year, you can spread awareness during Sexual Assault Awareness Month without ever having to leave your keyboard. Ever since the word “hashtag” made its way into Merriam-Webster dictionary, it seems we can no longer ignore the power behind the little symbol, once known as the “pound sign.” Online activism is trending now and what better way to spread awareness about sexual violence than through the power of the internet. In a world where social media is so pervasive, we invite you to participate in SAAM and use your hashtags to advocate for the end of sexual violence.

Ujpeg (2)sing the #SAAM or #SAAM2015 hashtags not only increases awareness to those who follow you, but also connects you with other activists in the movement. Take to Twitter to share the news and inspirational tweets of fellow advocates. See below for details on an Anti-Street Harassment Tweetathon on April 14, where you can be a part of a global event, 140 characters at a time.

InstagramOf course, Twitter isn’t the only outlet to paint the town teal. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is challenging Instagram users to a #30DaysOfSAAM Instagram contest. Follow them on Instagram @nsvrc to see each week’s challenge posted. Below is an image of the challenge for week one of SAAM. Good luck!

#30DAYSOFSAAM Instagram Contest

jpeg (1) Another way to stay involved is through our Facebook page. There you can find links to events, related articles, photos, and news from the Center during #SAAM2015. Invite your friends to like our page. Be sure to RSVP to the different events we’re hosting this month and invite your friends to those events as well.

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Remembering Walter Cason

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 In memory of our dear friend Walter

Walter1 copyWalter Cason was the most humble person you would ever have the chance to meet. He loved his family, adored his grandchildren, and was a voracious reader. Never would you know that our friend Walter was a theologian, missionary, source of inspiration for Desmond Tutu, and technology guru.

Dr. John Walter Cason passed away peacefully on November 3, 2014, at Carolina Meadows. A memorial service and celebration of Dr. Cason’s life was attended by family and friends at the Church of Reconciliation on December 6, 2014.

Walter Cason grew up in East Texas and was ordained in the Methodist Church. He obtained a Master of Divinity Degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Walter was a Methodist missionary helping to reestablish Cuttington College near Gbanga, Liberia. He earned his Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary while serving as a missionary and nourished his life-long passion for education and exploring new fields of study.

Walter later became a member of the Evangelical Theological Seminary faculty in Naperville, Illinois, which later became the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1974. He was remembered as an explorer of the new politics of liberation theology and the transformative role of church teachings.

After more than a decade in Liberia, Walter joined the staff of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches, working out of New York City and London to support theological education in Africa. His work led him to travel throughout the African continent supporting seminaries and churches working for social justice.

With his wife, Mary Smithies Cason of Bradford, England, he spent a sabbatical year in Zimbabwe on a research project. He later returned to teach for a semester at the University of Zimbabwe.

Walter and Mary retired to Chapel Hill in 1994 and immediately entered a new life of volunteer service working with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. Walter served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors and later as a member of the Finance Committee. He also volunteered at Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws, a local organization that trains and places service dogs.

Both Walter and Mary have been longtime supporters of the Church of Reconciliation. For several years, Walter served on the church’s Finance Committee and also as chair for the Social Justice Committee.

We will remember Walter for his wonderful smile, wise cracks, and commitment to helping others. Our thoughts are with Mary, his children, extended family, and friends.


#GiveLocal for #GivingTuesday

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#GivingTuesdayNow that we’re past Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, it’s time for… Giving Tuesday!

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. This year help us create #GivingTuesday. A new day for giving back.  On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, global charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more will come together to create #GivingTuesday.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company, or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Be a part of a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.

Here’s a few ways you can support the Center this holiday season:

  • Donate to our Year-End Campaign!
  • Visit Twig through December 4. Mention the Orange County Rape Crisis Center at checkout to donate 10% of your purchase and receive a 10% discount.
  • Donate your used cell phones and other items on our wishlist.
  • Shop online at AmazonSmile. Register one time and choose the Orange County Rape Crisis Center as your beneficiary. Then each time you shop, simply start at smile.amazon.com, then shop Amazon as usual and they will donate .5% of the purchase price to the Center. It even works with Amazon Prime.

 
Celebrate Giving Tuesday with a gift to the Center! Join the global movement, and don’t forget to take an #unselfie. Show your support when you take a pic, tag it #unselfie, #givingtuesday, and #givelocal, and upload to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. Don’t forget to tag @OCRCC!

Thank you so much for your generosity! Your gift makes a safer community for us all.


The Year After

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A couple months ago, Chapel Hill native Ashley Warner, author of The Year After: A Memoir, spoke on WCHL about her book and held a reading at local bookstore Flyleaf Books, which was also a benefit night for the Center. Warner’s book is a beacon for those who are adrift, for those who feel like they are alone. And she is garnering recognition for her compelling testimony. As a winner of the 2014 Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Memoir and a finalist in the 2014 International Book Awards for Best Non-Fiction Narrative, Warner is gaining a powerful voice in the literary world and offers an inside look into the recovery process, the details of which are often unknown to those who have not directly experienced interpersonal violence.

In the book, Warner talks about her assault, which took place over 20 years ago. It was a book that Warner wished she had had at the time of the attack, because it seems more manageable when you know you’re not alone. “It’s really comforting to know how other people have handled it,” she said. She wanted to truly communicate the ups and downs that she experienced, and that’s why it took so long to write. For those who have experienced interpersonal violence or know someone who has, it is all too true that recovery does not happen overnight, nor is there some magic step-by-step plan to make everything ‘better.’

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2014 Community Award Recipients

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Each year, we recognize individuals and organizations that have made substantial contributions to our cause of ending sexual violence. We recently presented awards to community members and partners at our Gratitude Gala in September:

  • The Mary Ann Chap Award for Community Service was presented to Mediterranean Deli of Chapel Hill and to Lt. Keith Webster of the Carrboro Police Department.
  • The Margaret Henderson Award for Service & Self-Care was presented to Christi Hurt, Assistant Vice Chancellor/Chief of Staff in Student Affairs at UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • The Margaret Barrett Award for Advocacy was presented to Kelli Raker, Sexual Violence Prevention Coordinator at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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Sensei

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Ora DeKornfeld created Sensei, a short documentary about Brenda Mayfield, a Durham woman who became a martial arts teacher, or sensei, after being raped. We asked Ora to share with us her video and how it came to be. Watch the documentary and read more about Ora and Brenda below. (*Trigger warning)

Sensei from ora on Vimeo.

The first time I spoke with Brenda was on the phone. I had seen her number listed on a flier advertising ‘No Nonsense Self Defense’ at Joe’s Diner in East Durham and decided to give her a call. Her voice was immediately familiar and warm. She was so open, telling me about her childhood in foster care, the violence in her neighborhood and how she uprooted her life in Boston to move to Durham seven years ago. She didn’t know me at all and yet she warmly agreed to help me when I proposed to make a documentary about her. Little did she know this documentary would practically mean living together for the next month.

I followed Brenda’s every move— we went everywhere together, anywhere from the Harris Teeter to buy microwave dinners when her oven broke to trick-or-treating around the neighborhood on Halloween. She quickly got used to the camera and learned to ignore me. Though our hangouts usually ended with Brenda saying, “Okay Ora, get out of my house,” as we spent more and more time together, we became friends.

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Punk Cuts to End Rape

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Punk cut!

A year ago on a warm night in June 2012, folks assembled into the house of the bold and brave Rachel Valentine to donate to the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. When the number of donors reached a total of 50, Rachel’s friends brought out the clippers and gave Rachel a punk cut to remember. This past weekend, the tradition lived on.

Arriving at Orange County Social Club on Saturday night, I was taken aback at how many people had gathered inside to support the Center. I pulled out my camera just in time to capture the first cut: the brave Amado, the son of Board Secretary Lydia Perez. Others joined in and soon, the room filled with applause and punk spikes supported by hair gel. The amazing stylists from Mina’s Studio provided an array of fresh styles to our team, including Rape Prevention Education Coordinator Rachel Valentine, Rebecca Honeycutt (wife of Crisis Response Coordinator Joey Honeycutt), Education & Finance Coordinator Alexis Kralic’s family, StartStrong Intern Amanda Baldiga, the Ruiz-Perez family, and Heather Wegerzyn.

In accordance with the punk DIY mentality, the night became more unceremonious as the gifted stylists left, leaving Rachel and myself with a pair of buzzing clippers and a flock of nervous volunteers. Community members began an impromptu “live auction,” offering to shave their heads for funds raised on the spot for the Center. The punk cuts performed by yours truly turned out “just fine” even if a little sloppy, and I was even able to get my own hair all punked out by Rachel. It felt incredible, not only to feel the summer breeze on the sides of my head, but also to feel the overflowing sense of love and gratitude among all the folks involved.

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