Ending Sexual Violence – KCSARC’s BE LOUD Breakfast
Update: a record breaking fundraiser for KCSARC with more than $515,000 raised to help end sexual violence. Congrats to the team, and for the investors who have the power, foresight and money to make a difference in our community! KCSARC is still taking donations.
Nearly a thousand people turned out this morning at the downtown Seattle Sheraton for the 27th Annual King County Sexual Assault Resource Center’s BE LOUD Breakfast to end sexual violence. It’s inspiring to see so many people gathered together to address a topic that not so long ago, was never discussed. KCSARC’s Executive Director Mary Ellen Stone and her team have done remarkable work – not just in King County, but across the country to bring awareness to sexual assault.
In fact, at the beginning of the program, we asked people to stand if they know someone impacted by sexual assault. Nearly everyone in the room was on their feet! It’s an amazing ‘visual’ to see from the stage, and a powerful reminder of just how prevalent sexual abuse is in our communities.
I give credit to KCSARC and its Project360 program to work with homeless youth who’ve been assaulted, as well as its tireless work to support families and people who are recovering. And in a surprising twist, Dr. Carl Morris, a KCSARC board member, shared how he sees the effects of sexual abuse in his patients nearly every day. Many suffer from headaches, stomach issues, diarrhea, PTSD, and stress. And while he can help treat their physical symptoms, it’s the underlying trauma that often needs treatment. He also revealed he, too, is a survivor. He shared his story after telling how he was personally affected by the story of another survivor, another doctor, who shared her story of recovery and survival three years ago.
We learned how stories matter as we listened to a mother tell how her husband had abused her daughter, and how the daughter had suffered in silence for year. Heaven Strothers shared how KCSARC has helped the family find the counseling, advocacy and help it needed. Amazingly, it also illustrated the difference in how states sentence offenders. The ex-husband spent about 9 months behind bars in Washington state, but was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Georgia, where the abuse first began.
I’m proud to be associated with an agency that does so much good for people who haven’t always found their voice to be loud, and speak out. And while I might get emotional and ‘choked up’ at times during the program, over the past 12-13 years – I’ve seen the progress, the hope, and the lives that are being changed by our collective investment in making our community a better place to live.