The 11 trainees included volunteers from communities across the state, including Daggett County and St. George, but the majority of the participants were from Moab, said Jaylyn Hawks, executive director of Seekhaven.
During the training, the crisis advocates learned about the dynamics of sexual violence and ways in which advocates can most effectively support victims of sexual violence.
“Many Grand County residents are unaware of the lifelines that are available to victims of sexual assault and rape,” Hawks said in a news release. “At Seekhaven, all staff members complete the 40-hour training to become rape crisis advocates and there is on-call, in-person help available 24/7 to support victims of rape and sexual assault.”
According to Hawks, the state of Utah has only one stand-alone rape crisis center – the Rape Recovery Center in Salt Lake City. However, 10 of the state’s 13 private nonprofit domestic violence shelters offer similar services, she said.
“Whether or not the victim chooses to report the crime, help and support are available. Ideally, when a victim makes a call to the law enforcement officer or arrives at the hospital after an assault, hospital and/or law enforcement staff will make a call to Seekhaven,” Hawks said. “Seekhaven staff will then contact the on-call rape crisis advocate to make arrangements to meet with the victim and explain the services that are available, lend support, and assist the victim in accessing resources.”
Hawks emphasized that the same resources are also available to victims who do not report the crime to police and/or choose not to go to the hospital for treatment.
Research shows that sexual assault and rape affect all races, education levels, income levels, religions, ethnic groups, and socio-economic groups.
“According to state of Utah’s Violence and Injury Prevention Program, one in three Utah women will experience some form of sexual violence during their lifetime,” Hawks said in the news release. “If you know someone who is struggling with these issues, please help them get the help they need.”
For more information, or to contact a crisis advocate, call Seekhaven at 435-259-2229.