35 years of ‘Ending the Silence’ for KCSARC
Update!!! I am pleased to announce that KCSARC exceeded its goal, and raised $325,000 at this year’s breakfast. What a generous audience, and please know that you are doing good in your community. Congratulations to the KCSARC team for all their hard work.
KCSARC is celebrating 35 years! The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, (more commonly known as KCSARC — pronounced Kay-sark) is marking 35 years of working with victims of sexual assault and abuse, turning them into survivors! This morning, more than 900 people gathered at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle to support this agency dedicated to helping people heal, empowering them, and helping them find their voice after what can be years of silence about being abused.
150,000 people served over 35 years. That’s an incredible statistic! Think about it — 150,000 of our neighbors have been helped over the past 35 years — about 2800 just last year alone. I’ve served as KCSARC’s emcee for this breakfast for nine years, and each year, I am impressed by the measure of support from the community — many elected officials and dignitaries, numerous corporations, and a lot of people who come together to say — “Not here. No more sexual assault in my neighbhorhood.”
Strong and courageous voices. I am even more impressed by the brave women who told their story. Five women came together for a Healing Celebration class, led by the incredible DeeAnn Yamamoto. They shared with us via video how the class gave them back their lives, ridding them of anger and guilt, and giving them the power to move forward! Kim came up on stage and told her story, how a man known to their family as ‘Charlie’ befriended them when they were growing up in California. The friendly older man who took the kids to Disneyland and the park was a pedophile, and abused Kim. Her parents never knew till years later. And while Kim coped, she didn’t really talk about it for 33 years, until this class with the other women. KCSARC gave her back her life.
It almost brings me to tears when I see a room full of people who support this agency, helping people whom they may never meet, donate money to make sure the resources are there when they’re needed, and the services are all FREE OF CHARGE! Executive Director Mary Ellen Stone, an amazing leader, told us last year that there’s progress being made, but she reminded us today, there’s still a long ways to go. I congratulate Mary Ellen, KCSARC and the fine staff for the good they do in the community, and the efforts of all there this morning to help ‘end the silence.’