Almost 18 months after #MeToo began trending on social media, the phones haven’t stopped ringing at the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC).
As the largest sexual assault resource center in the Pacific Northwest, KCSARC serves more than 4,000 individuals a year, half of whom are children and teens.
2018 was a year like no other in KCSARC’s four-decade history. Calls to its 24-hour Resource Line spiked by 22%, with survivors and families seeking resources and information amid a growing national conversation about sexual assault and harassment. Demand for all KCSARC services, such as legal advocacy, trauma-focused therapy, and family education, have escalated almost 20%.
Keeping up with that sharply growing demand has stretched the agency’s resources thin. But according to KCSARC’s Executive Director, Mary Ellen Stone, the fact that survivors are reaching out for help in historic numbers is a sign of progress. This is a milestone that KCSARC has been striving for since the Center — a private nonprofit that serves all of King County — opened its doors in 1976.
“We believe change happens when people are able to talk about sexual assault openly, and recognize that we all have a role in ending sexual violence,” said Mary Ellen Stone. “Only one in four sexual assaults are actually reported. More calls and reports do not mean more sexual assaults are happening. It means that finally, people are willing to come forward to tell their story. And when they do decide to disclose a sexual assault, it’s critical that services are available without delay,” Stone said.
And KCSARC believes more survivors will seek help when they know the community stands with them. The BE LOUD Breakfast, held every year in Seattle, is a way of sending a message to survivors that they count, their story matters, and that the community supports the services they need to heal.
On the morning of March 5, one thousand supporters will gather at the Sheraton Seattle to raise their voice and raise needed funds to ensure KCSARC’s direct services, prevention education, and advocacy programs are in place.
Many BE LOUD Breakfast supporters form teams that raise funds before the event. In addition to the individuals and teams who attend that morning, virtual table captains work to organize friends and family, and commit to raising funds in support of the organization.
Community members and corporations who would like to get involved in supporting KCSARC and the BE LOUD Breakfast can learn more at www.kcsarc.org/2019BELOUDBreakfast or by contacting Events & Corporate Partnerships Manager Madeline Read at [email protected].