The fountain in Uptown Greenwood will be teal for the remainder of April in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Mayor Welborn Adams joined the staff of the Sexual Trauma and Counseling Center at the fountain on Wednesday. While STCC staff stood in front of the teal-colored fountain, a trial was underway just a stone’s throw away at the Greenwood County Courthouse for a man charged with molesting a 7-year-old girl.
“We want to do everything we can to support Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” Adams said. “Unfortunately, it’s a big problem in our area. We have way too many instances of this in Greenwood.”
Adams served on the board of directors for STCC for nine years and knows all too well how difficult of a problem sexual assault can be.
“The things that they have to address and deal with at the Sexual Trauma Center is heart-wrenching,” Adams said. “I really admire the work they do there. I don’t know where Greenwood would be without them.”
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. every two-and-a-half minutes. More than half of those assaults go unreported to law enforcement.
STCC provides a variety of services to combat the growing problem of sexual assault. They provide provides victim and family advocacy, counseling for child and adult victims of sexual violence, forensic interviews, education and awareness programs and a 24-hour crisis hotline. In 2012 alone, STCC took in nearly 200 new clients in addition to completing over 170 parent education sessions. The education and awareness program reached more than 15,000 people in Greenwood and touched on topics from healthy relationships to dating violence to bullying to dynamics of sexual assault and safe touches.
“Sexual assault is a growing problem not only in Greenwood, but also across the country,” said Kris Burris, executive director of STCC. “We are so thankful to the Mayor and the City of Greenwood for participating in Sexual Assault Awareness Month and helping us let people know that we are there to help them if they are sexually assaulted and even before that with our education and awareness program.”
In support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, STCC is providing several opportunities for community members to get involved, such as “Cookies for Cops” and The Tunnel of Oppression. The Tunnel of Oppression is a community diversity initiative which features a guided walk-through multimedia “tour of oppression,” which represents the realities of oppression in a full sensory experiential manner. Participants will see, touch, hear and feel the realities of oppression as a stepping stone towards creating diversity awareness. The Tunnel of Oppression will be held at the United Center for Community Care, located at 929 Phoenix St., on April 23, 24, 25 from 4-7 p.m. The event is open to the community and free of charge.