Dear Chapel Hill Community

On January 10, 2020 the OCRCC was alerted that public accusations of sexual harassment had been made against Al Bowers, local business owner and business sponsor of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. While we do not typically comment publicly on local cases, our affiliation with the accused compels us to do so. We write today to affirm our commitment to supporting and believing survivors.

All survivors of unwanted sexual attention- including rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment- deserve safety and support. The Orange County Rape Crisis Center is committed to providing a safe space for hope, help and healing for all survivors in our community. We recognize that our public association with Mr. Bowers compromises our ability to be a safe space for all, and for this reason we have decided to cut ties with Mr. Bowers and his businesses.

Anytime someone goes public with their experiences of sexual harassment, the impact is immeasurable and far-reaching. Workplace sexual harassment is a widespread problem that affects millions of people every day, and is not isolated to this situation. Survivors who have similar experiences may be conflicted about whether or not to come forward themselves. Survivors of all kinds may find the increased public conversation about sexual harassment–including the commentary of those who will come to the defense of the accused- triggering for a variety of reasons. If you or someone you know is struggling with how to make sense of their feeling regarding these accusations, please know that expert advocates from the OCRCC are available 24 hours a day to listen, support, and connect you to resources that might be of use. If for any reason you are uncertain about utilizing the services of the OCRCC, we have included contact information for additional services in nearby communities at the bottom of this message.

Please take good care of yourselves and one another, and take note of the resources available to survivors in our community.

Sincerely,
Rachel Valentine, OCRCC Executive Director
Julia Da Silva, OCRCC Board President
Annie Johnston, OCRCC Board Vice President
Lauren Erickson, OCRCC Treasurer
Ryan Huckabee, OCRCC Secretary

OCRCC 24-Hour Phone Helpline: 1-866-WE-LISTEN
OCRCC 24-Hour Text Helpline: 919-504-5211
OCRCC 24-Hour Online Chat Helpline: www.ocrcc.org

UNC -Chapel Hill Resources: safe.unc.edu
UNC- Chapel Hill Gender Violence Services Coordinators: 919-962-7430, gvsc@unc.edu

Durham Crisis Response Center: 919-403-6562 (English), 919-519-3735 (Español)

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