Photos Provided By RACC
Sexual abuse is an incredibly serious issue that impacts roughly 321,500 Americans each year. In our community, the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center is combating sexual violence and abuse through various means. Throughout its 42-year history, RACC has provided advocacy, crisis intervention, counseling, prevention and education to those affected by domestic/dating violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, trafficking/sexual exploitation, and child sexual abuse. They continue to do that today in Fargo-Moorhead.
“We see just under 3,000 clients each year, with over 500 of them children. We also get in front of 20,000 kids and community members each year, providing education on how to identify, prevent, and respond to violence,” said CEO Chris Johnson. “We are is embedded in our community formal systems, partnering with those in law enforcement, health care, courts and education.”
The 49 member staff at RACC are experts in the field and are welcoming to any and all who are affected by sexual violence. “All of our victim services are free and confidential. It’s never too late to seek services; we want to see all who have been impacted by these issues,” said Johnson. “We are trauma-focused, experienced and compassionate professionals who work to provide a safe, welcoming place for all to feel secure, valued and heard. We do this by withholding judgment and empowering clients to make their own decisions.”
Despite their success in battling sexual assault, there are goals RACC wishes to achieve in the future. “We want to continue to expand our services to reach as many people as possible; to remove barriers for people seeking services,” said Johnson. “We want to continue to increase community safety and awareness of interpersonal violence.”
In recent years, there has been a shift in how the public views sexual assault. Because of this, more people are educated on the subject. With the help of survivors, RACC is continually able to properly educate those in our community. “We have seen a huge shift in how society sees these issues. There are more survivors of these issues speaking up, both locally and nationally, empowering others to speak up and speak out,” said Johnson. “Because of this, there is a greater understanding of the need for counseling and intervention and prevention services.”
Johnson cannot imagine a community without RACC in it. “Without RACC, an incredible team of advocates, counselors and preventionists/educators would be lost,” he said. “The community would lose its leaders in the fight against domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse.”
Pause for a moment and imagine a community where RACC does not exist. What will happen to the battle against sexual abuse? What would our community look like? Chances are, Fargo-Moorhead would be worse off if not for Rape and Abuse Crisis Center. We as a community must come alongside RACC and their mission to combat sexual abuse in order to create a better community in which all of us can live.
What can you do to help?
“Volunteer time – we have a 24/7 crisis line to provide emotional support and resources to those who’ve been impacted by these issues; special events; help around the agency. Provide monetary donations – our victim services are free. Initiate campaigns in your workplace – collect personal hygiene items or gift cards that we can use for our clients,” said Johnson. “Share/like social media. Connect us with others who want to get involved and help. Take a stand against the violence that you see and inform others of your choice to do so. Ask us to do training and educational presentations at your place of business.”
Rape And Abuse Crisis Center
317 8th St North