The AWARE’s Sexual Assault Program is the only program in Jackson County that provides forensics immediately after an attack and free counseling for rape survivors and other victims of sexual assault. This is the only program locally that deals exclusively with sexual assault in public education, community presentations and public awareness.
AWARE provides a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) to a rape survivor. Rape survivors are provided with information on medical follow-up for their trauma, and free counseling services at AWARE to aid with emotional and mental healing from rape. Counselors and advocates provide information to counseling clients and rape survivors about sexual assault and the healing process, thus enabling them to move on with their lives and live more comfortably with themselves after a rape encounter.
Collaboration with Allegiance Health continues to make service delivery to rape survivors much easier on both the client, SANE nurses, advocates and family members a less painful emotional experience. Additionally, collaboration with the law enforcement community in Jackson County to bring survivors directly to AWARE or the hospital also ensures that healing can begin promptly with all parties in place to receive the survivor. Schools continue to ask AWARE to work with them on educating students on sexual violence. AWARE also works as a collaborative partner with the Intermediate School District Jackson and the Youth Home, on educating youth on healthy relationships, domestic violence, sexual violence, sexting, and how to access free counseling and free medical exams in cases of rape and free counseling for survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. Legal Services of South Central Michigan work with AWARE, as does Crime Victim Services, to bring justice to the victims of rape. These are just a few of the agencies with whom AWARE works on behalf of clients and community safety.
Because of AWARE, police have what they need to bring attackers to justice and victims get what they need so they can move through the healing process. Last year an adult client was brought to AWARE by police officers. She stated she had been staying at interfaith and had been kidnapped by three men and gang rapped. She was in a lot of pain but she requested to have a SANE exam. She stated they took her car and her cell phone. This client stated she wanted to stay in the shelter to try to get back on her feet and get her children back. Her goal was is to find stable housing. With the help of her case worker and CPS worker, she was able to get her car back and has been looking for a place so that her children can return home.