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NEWS | April 27, 2017

ARSC raises their voices for good during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Sgt. 1st Class Sheila Holifield Army Reserve Sustainment Command

Soldiers with the Army Reserve Sustainment Command raised their voices for good during April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. ARSC coordinated with Crisis Center, Inc., to share a presentation and training session to promote awareness, advocacy and information about the various sexual assault support services they offer.

“Be the change you hope to see in this world,” said Rhiannon Reese as she presented information to the Soldiers of the ARSC. Reese, the clinical director of crisis programs at Crisis Center, Inc., visited the unit to explain to the Soldiers what the center does and how it functions, and as an overall way to make services more approachable.

The mission of Crisis Center, Inc., is to serve the unmet needs of people experiencing personal crisis or mental health issues and to respond with services that promote coping, emotional health and well-being. The center, located in Central Alabama, provides sexual assault support services to Blount, Jefferson, St. Clair and Walker counties.

“Crisis doesn’t care who you are, so we make sure victims know they can count on us to help them,” said Reese. She explained to the Soldiers of the ARSC the importance of being an advocate for victims of sexual assault.

“We all have felt pain in some form or another; therefore, we can all empathize with victims going through crisis,” added Reese.

Reese shared the various stages victims go through during a crisis, along with some related emotions and needs during each stage.

“As we go through life we tend to compartmentalize our experiences,” said Reese. “The issue is, sexual assault doesn’t fit anywhere in our brain, and victims feel this as they try and cope.”

Reese described the importance of having a strong support system as victims go through crisis stages and recovery. She shared how important a support system is to help advocate, educate, normalize, believe, and applaud the victim for coming forward.

“The presentation really showed me the stages a victim may travel as they cope with the horrible experience of sexual assault; how sights and even smells can trigger and dramatically impact a victim for years to come,” said Maj. Billy Hyatt, chief of individual training for the ARSC.

It was immediately evident how important the support provided by Crisis Center, Inc., and similar organizations was to helping victims on their way back to a normal life while not minimizing their struggle, he added.

Moved by the presentation, the Soldiers of the ARSC are teaming with Crisis Center, Inc., and will collect donations to deliver to the center during Denim Day on April 26.

“This training session was so impactful [that] I want to provide a donation in hopes of increasing their ability to serve the public,” said Hyatt. “This information has made me more prepared as a leader to better appreciate and assist in a support role in the future.”