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A letter from our Executive Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has been another incredible year.  I am going into my 31st year of involvement with sexual assault intervention and prevention.  I began as a volunteer back in 1987 and became the Executive Director in 1995.  The years have passed with so much progress, most recently with the #MeToo Movement.  More people are coming forward with their stories about their experiences, their truths and looking for a path to justice.  Justice does not always come in the form of criminal proceedings.  It sometimes comes from the validation of others, the outrage that they did not deserve what happened to them and that Hollywood, corporations, and policy makers are starting to take more action.  Although we have so much further to go and so much more education and understanding needed to truly change the culture —the culture that looks at sexual violence as something the victim could have and should have prevented.  As a society we don’t ask someone who was robbed why they walked into a dark alleyway with their wallet and then blame them for being robbed.  There continues to be a different standard for victims of sexual violence — what was she/he thinking going into that bar alone, dancing like that, dressing like that? Then we have the most vulnerable—the children who come through the Children’s Advocacy Center because they’ve been affected by sexual abuse.  A recent statement made by a Kansas City district court judge that a child enticed a 67-year-old man into having sex with him for money is a true testament to the fact that we have a lot more work to do.  This comment has outraged myself and so many others from around the country.  We truly need more people standing up and saying we will not tolerate the injustice, the victim blaming, or the acceptance of behaviors that impact the people in our community.

We also provide support for victims of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation. One voice speaking out leads to another voice and collectively they build upon each other —they lift others up to give them the strength and courage to come forward, to not be a bystander and to make a difference in their lives and others.  I am honored and proud to be alongside a caring, compassionate staff and board of directors, as well as, community members who continue to support survivors in their efforts to heal from this form of intimate violence that can affect the mind, body and soul of those who have experience sexual abuse.   Please join me and others in “Helping our community be Silent No More.”  We can’t do it alone!

Donna Strickler

A letter from our Board President

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have the privilege because of the importance of the mission and the people with whom I work with in furtherance of that mission. As a board member I am given an inside view as to how being Silent No More is pursued 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Literally the hotline is always available with advocates ready to respond to calls and hospitals in Kennebec and Somerset Counties whenever needed. Plus the Children’s Advocacy Center “CAC” was the first center in Maine to be fully accredited and, sadly, its services need to continue to grow every year. With every visit to the center, I see more painted handprints on the wall from the children the CAC has helped to find justice and counseling to pull their lives back together.

 

I have met the advocates working to prevent sexual assault through teaching children in the schools about respecting one another and bringing together community partners to help every victim of sexual assault become a survivor.

 

And though less glamorous, it is no less important, that I carefully review the financial information at every board meeting with a steely eye to keep forever the fiscal strength of the organization. All of this is possible because of our supportive community, our volunteers, our donors, our board members, our staff, and our Executive Director—the greatest imaginable.

 

Thank you to everyone who is a part of the vibrant mission of the Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Center!

 

Maeghan Maloney

District Attorney

Kennebec/Somerset Counties

 

A letter from our Program Manager - Client Services/CAC

The issue of sexual violence continues to have a huge presence in our local communities, and throughout the country. Survivors of sexual violence are our neighbors, friends, colleagues and family members. Their experiences impact us all. How we respond speaks to who we are as a society and who we are as human beings.

 

 As the Program Manager for SAC&SC Client Services and the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) of Kennebec and Somerset Counties, I cannot begin to put into words, how incredibly proud and honored I feel, to be a part of such a dedicated and truly inspiring team who are committed to supporting the resiliency, hope and strength of individuals impacted by sexual violence.

 

The unwavering passion that I witness every single day, by staff, volunteers and multidisciplinary team members who put their heart and soul into every interaction they have when responding to sexual violence continues to amaze and inspire me.

 

The bravery and strength that survivors have demonstrated this year, to end their silence and share their experiences has shaped the dialogue and conversations that we have regarding this issue. It has sparked deeply emotional, sometimes controversial, rich and vibrant conversations. Our services continue to be very needed and are crucial to supporting survivors as well as their loved ones and the community now, more than ever.

 

This work can be difficult, challenging and overwhelming at times. It takes teamwork, heart, dedication, passion and compassion – both for the clients that we serve and each other.  I am so proud of our staff and the strong partnerships that we have formed with law enforcement, prosecution, medical, mental health, child protection, victim advocacy and others. I am humbled and honored to work together with them in their respective fields both individually and collectively. The respect that we have for each other and the respect that we have for individuals needing our help and support is essential to achieving our mission.

 

I could not ask for a more wonderful team to be a part of, and I look forward to another year together of continued partnerships, affecting change and instilling hope as we work together to assist and support individuals impacted by sexual violence.

 

Warmly,

Jenna McCarthy - Program Manager/Client Services/CAC

 

A letter from our Forensic Interviewer and Family Services Coordinator

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Kennebec & Somerset counties, a Nationally Accredited program of the Sexual Assault Crisis & Support Center, has been providing a safe, neutral and child-centered place for coordinated evaluation of children following an allegation of sexual abuse for six years.

 

During this past year, the CAC was due for re-accreditation through the National Children’s Alliance. The re-accreditation process happens every five years. The National Children’s Alliance (NCA) Accreditation Standards ensure that all children across the U.S. served by CACs receive consistent, evidence-based services that help them heal from abuse. Our multidisciplinary team worked diligently to review our policies and protocols, to ensure that our work was accurately reflected as to how our CAC meets or exceeds the standards to become a Re-Accredited CAC. On October 18, we officially received our re-accreditation! Our Kennebec/Somerset CAC was the first in the state of Maine to become accredited and we are the first to become re-accredited.

 

Our CAC has one full-time staff forensic interviewer and six other trained forensic interviewers. As part of one of our accreditation standards, forensic interviewers must have ongoing training in the child abuse field. The team of forensic interviewers just attended a statewide Advanced Forensic Interviewing training specializing in interviewing children with disabilities. This two-day training was held in Augusta, ME on September 26th and 27th.

 

The CAC experienced a change in staffing with the Family Services Coordinator position this year, and we are so happy to have Katie as part of the CAC team! After almost a year in her position Katie says, “I’m thankful to be a part of an organization that creates a safe, neutral environment that kids can come to and share their story. Oftentimes, when caregivers bring their children to the CAC, they are disclosing their own history of sexual abuse to me. They tell me how they wished a place like the CAC existed when they were younger and how they feel like it would have helped them exponentially in their healing journey. This work is so important, because we are not only helping the children that come in, but we are helping their caregivers, who may have their own unhealed trauma. We are able to offer services not only to the children, but also connect their parents to resources and support. I want to continue to be a part of this work to ensure that everyone affected by sexual violence has a voice and has access to support.”

 

This graphic shows some of the words that families have shared in their surveys about their experience at the CAC.

 

Samantha Marquis, Forensic Interviewer

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Katie McConnell, Family Services Coordinator

 

 

A letter from our SART (Sexual Assault Response Team)

As Advocates, We have the honor of supporting victims during their most dark and difficult times.  It is a privilege to be trusted by survivors, when they share their experiences with us.  Although we cannot undo what’s been done, we can be there to support them during difficult moments and to help lessen the impact of what happened by listening, validating, supporting, encouraging and reminding survivors that healing is hard work, but that they are worth the work it takes.

 

This past year, the agency added an additional position for a Rural Advocate.  This has helped to increase our ability to serve the more rural areas of our community and focus more on under served populations, such as homeless and at-risk youth and incarcerated individuals. One of the responsibilities of an advocate is to provide accompaniment and support to survivors that present for sexual assault forensic medical examinations at any of the hospitals in Kennebec/Somerset counties. The Advocate and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner work as a team together, each in their own disciplines, to provide medical care and advocacy services.  An Advocate continues to be available to that patient through the 24-hour support line as well as providing accompaniment and support with navigating the multiple systems that they may encounter in the days, weeks and months to follow.  This summer we facilitated two 40-hour advocate training sessions and added several new volunteer advocates that respond to calls on the 24-hour support line and assist with outreach and fundraising events. Additionally, all of the advocates (both staff and volunteers) meet on a monthly basis to increase their knowledge and skills with additional training and information sharing.

 

We continue to provide wrap-around support services to families who have been to the Children’s Advocacy Center. We are able to continue to support children and their non-offending caregivers in a number of ways, as well as, ensuring linkage with services that the family may need such as medical, legal and mental health.

 

In the last few years there has been an increase in sex trafficking in our local communities.  In an effort to provide intervention as well as prevention services, advocates were trained in the “My Life, My Choice” curriculum. This was a two-day training which focuses on youth between the ages of 12 and 18 who are considered to be at high risk for being trafficked.  The curriculum offers support and education of what to look for and the red flags of a trafficker.  Our first group is currently underway, and we have between twelve to fifteen youth attending on a regular basis. Our advocates co-facilitate with a trained survivor of trafficking.

 

We are honored to be able to work together in partnership with so many community and law enforcement agencies to support survivors of sexual violence.

 

Deanna Walker, SART Advocate

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Morgan Polky, Rural SART Advocate

 

A letter from our Educator

It takes a village…

I am grateful for our elementary school staff who are willing to do whatever they can to help implement the new child sexual abuse prevention and education policy.  We’ve been having fun with puppets to help our children understand personal body safety.  With the support of MeCASA and Susan Berry, from the Department of Education, I am assisting schools in Kennebec and Somerset County who are working hard to make sure they are complying. Part of this is training every staff member in the school about responding to disclosures and making mandatory reports.  MeCASA and DOE developed this user-friendly website if you would like to learn more. https://www.childrenssafetypartnership.org/

For middle school students, I focus on Bystander Intervention.  You can always count on a 7th grader to ham it up and do some role playing around intervening when they see or hear degrading comments or sexual violence. I am excited to report that there has been a cultural shift among young people regarding victim blaming and tolerance. This includes high school students.  Their reaction to the #Metoo movement has been phenomenal. Their questions have been thoughtful and insightful.  We are making progress!

I am always honored to collaborate with the dedicated professionals from Thomas College, Somerset County Jail, and South End Teen Center, to name a few.  Our community partners make this change possible.

Thank you to all adults who recognize that every uncomfortable conversation we have and every time we speak up, we are helping to prevent sexual violence!

 

Linda Herschenfeld, Guidance Counselor at Farrington Elementary School, playing Rusty.  Rusty’s babysitter touched him in the private area and called it a “touching game.”  With help from students, Maggie and Rusty decide he should tell a grown-up he trusts.

 

Margaux Files, Guidance Counselor at Madison Elementary School, was a quick learn playing Rusty.

 

Kathleen Paradis

Community Educator

 

A letter from our Outreach Coordinator

I have been with this agency in many different capacities over the last 14 years and am very excited about my current transition from Rural SART Advocate to Outreach Coordinator.  In this position I get to reach out and collaborate with our community partners regarding awareness and fundraising events. A lot of businesses in our catchment area invite us to their organizations and I’m able to meet them in person and furnish them with some very informative brochures and handouts regarding our resources and services.

This year my goal is to focus on the many health clinics and medical offices in the area. We find that many times people have heard of our agency but aren’t aware of all the free services we have to offer. I will work diligently to network and bridge the gap between our agency and our community members.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and we have several days scheduled to support victims of sexual violence.  We will be kicking the month off with the #SHINE campaign which collaborates with National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Children’s Advocacy Center.  The emphasis of the campaign is to reach survivors and their allies with the message of hope and commitment.

“Alone, survivors of child abuse are like stars, single points of light in the darkness. But as each one finds their community, builds visibility, and shares their common commitment to support victims and survivors, they can connect into constellations and galaxies, forming a Universe of Support lighting the way toward a brighter future.”  (National Children’s Alliance) Updates for SAAM will continue to be publicized through social media.

We also have been fortunate to receive funding from many of the towns we serve.  In order to be approved for funding, we must attend the polls and collect signatures on election day. We see this as another opportunity to provide outreach to the residents of each town in Somerset and Kennebec counties.  Who knows? Maybe I’ll meet you at a town budget meeting and we can have a face-to-face conversation on sexual violence and its impact on society.

Together, we can help our community become “Silent No More.”

Susan MacMaster Beaulieu—Outreach Coordinator

 

A letter from our Office Manager

I’m heading into my 5th year with the Sexual Assault Crisis & Support Center and this year I’m excited to have been given the opportunity and responsibility of event coordination.  I am eager to focus on our fundraising details and to help create new strategies to help make this happen.   This is a great way for us to directly interact with the people we serve while raising the much-needed money that our agency needs to support the people who rely on us.

 

Each year we strive to maximize our fundraising revenue by appealing to organizations and individuals in our community.  Nonprofits depend heavily on outside contributions, grants, and fundraising efforts.  One crucial piece of grant compliance is that we must raise a certain amount of money each year. We would like to thank our largest supporters: Peter McAvoy—Bronze Universe, Norm Elvin—G & E Roofing, NEWSCENTER Maine, 107.9 The Mix, Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, KSW Federal Credit Union, Central Maine Motors Auto Group, Key Bank, Tex Tech Industries, Morgan Allarie, Maine General Health, Lajoie Brothers, Hidden Valley Camps, Kennebec Savings Bank, Winthrop Commerce Center and Fortin’s Home Furnishings.

 

The 19th annual Celebrity Dinner (disco themed) was held September 22, 2018 and thanks to our sponsors, individual donors, auction-item donors, and celebrity waiters, we raised over $57,000! Next year’s 20th annual will be held on September 21, 2019 and the committee has appropriately chosen a Roaring Twenties theme to celebrate this exciting milestone.  This event relies heavily on the celebrities to be successful so if you or someone you know would like to be a celebrity waiter, please call us at 377-1010 or email Kathy Auclair at kathy.auclair@silentnomore.org  Tickets to the event can be purchased here:  https://one.bidpal.net/twenties/welcome

 

Registration is open for the 8th annual One in Five 5K which is being held at Thomas College on April 28, 2019.  This year’s pricing is age-based allowing our youngest runners to participate for just $10 whether on a team or not.  Adults will still only pay $25, but if on a team the price is reduced to $20.  Please make sure to register early because same-day registration will increase by $5.00.  Another reason to pre-register is that the first 250 registrants will receive a free cinch sack and a free t-shirt!   Gift certificates are also available for purchase this year.  This event is dog friendly and baby strollers are welcome.

http://www.runsignup.com/oneinfive5K

 

Staying abreast of what’s going on with our agency is easy!  Just “like” our Facebook page Silentnomoreorg

Kathy Auclair, Office Manager

 

 

A Poem from a Survivor

I wear a mask….

 

Because no one really wants to hear just how messed up my childhood was.

 

Because it doesn’t seem appropriate to give so much detail/insight into my life.

 

Because no one will ever quite understand.

I wear a mask….

 

Because the details are so ugly.

Because the emotional scars feel just as visible as physical scars.

Because I try to hide those pieces of myself even from my own reflection.

I wear a mask….

 

Because I was told that it was my own fault.

Because I was told that God was punishing me.

Because, according to certain adults in my life, I had already committed so many sins before I had even entered kindergarten.

I wear a mask….

 

Because I can never point to any one place to say “I grew up here, in this house”.

Because I was never in one school long enough to make many friends.

Because I never learned to rely on others without their being an associated cost.

I wear a mask….

 

Because I don’t want others to see me hurting.

Because I don’t want to have to explain.

Because I don’t want people to judge me based on my upbringing.

I wear a mask….

 

Because I’m scared.

Because I’m sad.

Because I’m ashamed.

Because I’m embarrassed.

Because….. Because…… Because

 

~Survivor of Sexual Violence

 

 

Serving

Kennebec & Somerset Counties in Maine

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual abuse... there is someone who will listen.

Call the Maine Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis & Support Line

1-800-871-7741

Link to Maine DHHS
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