WASAC aims to provide resources to victims in all walks

(Photo courtesy KSN News)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s been a month since Riley County Police Department and Lawrence Police Department held a joint press conference to address a string of rapes in Manhattan and Lawrence.

Tips are still coming in to the department. As of Tuesday, 30 tips have been received since the conference, all of which are being investigated.

Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Manhattan Riley County Crime Stoppers at 785-539-7777 or toll-free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Text tips are also accepted by sending a text to “CRIMES” (274637) and starting your message with “TIP353.”

Sexual assault and rape is still a frequent occurrence, and Wichita is no exception.

Perla Rodriguez, director of outreach services at Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center said her workplace made 465 visits to the hospital last year, greeting victims of sexual assault with perhaps a much-needed friendly face and an understanding heart in a trying time.

“No one really wants to talk about sexual violence, and we don’t like to talk about our bodies and we really don’t want to talk about sexual abuse. Having those conversations are helping those who are survivors in our community to come forward and say, you know what, there is services out there, there is help that I can seek, it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t do something wrong, this does happen a lot,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said 1 in 4 women experiences sexual assault by age 18, similarly, 1 in 6 men experience sexual assault by 18.

Being open in conversations about sexual assault is the best way to get someone the help they need. But the first priority is the person’s safety. WASAC also helps with the aftermath, like sustained injuries, unexpected pregnancy and STDs.

WASAC aims to help victims in all stages, even those looking back at the trauma, as some of the earlier victims of the Kansas college rapist may be experiencing.

“We want people to know there is a safe space to talk about some very personal things that have happened to them. It’s okay to want to talk to someone even though, you know, it’s years later,” Rodriguez said.

The Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center crisis line is 316-263-3002.


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