If you hear, see or suspect something. It is of the utmost importance that you bring it to the attention of professionals that can handle these delicate and horrifying issues involving sexual assault. Perhaps things have been done to you, you are not alone. It is not your fault and Comprehensive Healthcare has a specific department called Aspen Victim Advocacy that is here to help you through this difficult time.

Debbie is the Program Manager of Aspen Victim Advocacy and in the month of April it's sexual assault awareness month. There is a 24 hour hotline that is available for Yakima County 509-452-9675 and the Tri-Cities SARC Sexual Assault Research Center's phone number is 509-374-5391, they will also answer 24/7. Anyone who is in need of services can speak to a trained professional, it doesn't matter if it just happened or took place years ago, the trauma doesn't disappear and you shouldn't either.

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What is the Community Sexual Assault Program?

A community sexual assault program provides services to victims of sexual violence. Women, men and children. Sadly 60% of the victims they service each year are under 18. The more people that are made aware of this, the more help can be provided.

Do You Need a Referral?

Most victims will have been given a referral from the police, prosecutors or at the hospital but it's of the utmost important that if somthing happens to you, please you make sure to get yourself a check-up. This doesn't have to involve the police if you are over 18. This is about taking care of yourself. Staying quiet has long lasting effects, this is not your fault and you are not alone.

What Info is Provided?

Survivor driven advocacy is the type of help a community sexual assault program provides. To whoever is calling, you get to set the pace from having someone listen to you to having a volunteer accompany you to the hospital to get a check-up. They will be supportive and a comfort when you are feeling alone. Being strong is taking care of this, not pretending it didn't happen. If you tell someone about what happened and they blow you off or try to minimize what happened. They aren't the right person to talk to, you can speak to a trusted and trained professional so you can begin to process and work through what happened.

You do not have to file a police report to get a free forensic exam, test for pregnancy, get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, have the hospital tend to any wounds, provide prophylactic's and more. If you are under 18, law enforcement will be contacted but please remember, this is not your fault. No matter what the case, you deserve to feel safe and to use your voice to explain what happened.

Protecting someone you know is assaulting someone is doing nothing but continuing the cycle of abuse. Take a deep breath and make the phone call. Victims deserve to be supported, believed and taken care of.

From Sarah J *warning this is slightly graphic information

I was probably 19 or 20 when it happened. I was at a college apartment party. My first and last time mixing Southern Comfort with squirt. I was having a blast, not blacked out or anything but as the night when on my judgement for sure became impaired and I made a very naïve decision to stay at the persons place while my roommates left.

I had notions it would be romantic, we would cuddle and he would cook me breakfast while I nursed my hangover in the morning. But that isn't what happened. It hurt and I asked him to stop. I begged him to stop, I started crying and thrashing and he was so irritated because he just wanted to finish, why couldn't I just be quiet but he finally did stop.

There was a giant wet spot on the bed and he made a joke, "see you must have enjoyed it." I didn't realize until I got home that wet spot was blood. I told one person and the response was, "I didn't think you were that kind of girl." I was heartbroken, I was so embarrassed and ashamed.

Over the next few days my roommates, who I thought were my friends, made fun of me. He had been bragging about what happened that night and they talked about how easy I was. Instead of saying what really happened, I went numb and shrugged it off. I never really thought or spoke about it again.

A few years ago while watching the hearing where Christine Blasey Ford recounted her experience with the now confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanuagh, ALL my memories of that night came flooding back. I cried, I hyperventilated. I couldn't find the right words or feelings to understand how people could accuse her of lying. Of holding onto this traumatic memory and dropping it like a bomb now that he was about to be confirmed. I understood her because if the roles were switched and it had been the person I'd had my traumatic experience with I would of had to make that type of decision. I never truly considered what happened to me an assault because of the events leading up to it. But no means no. No matter what. It is never your fault when someone sexually assaults you, never and you are not alone. You are beautiful and you will get through this. You don't need to go through this alone.

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