Belief and action were the main threads that supported an individual within our community in obtaining safety and justice. It is just one example of how a team of Door County community members cared for an individual’s safety and needs.
Being assaulted or abused by someone you trust – when in your own mind you feel that you are partially to blame – is not an easy thing to report. Many reports in Door County of sexual assault or domestic abuse involve individuals who have been violated by another, yet they feel that they are to blame in some small way. Even though they may have unwarranted feelings of guilt, they find the courage to come forward.
The hope that was given to this particular individual has truly helped in the healing that has begun to take place. Hope started the minute that he told someone, they believed him, and helped him to get assistance from law enforcement.
Law enforcement’s concern was two-fold for securing our community’s safety: focused on seeing that the individual’s needs were being met, and doing a complete investigation so that there could be a fair outcome.
Many professionals were pulled in to support this individual’s needs. Medical attention, counseling, support through the court system, and basic needs were addressed by the team of professionals that responded.
“It was at times overwhelming to have so many people concerned for my safety and well being, and yet very comforting to know that I wasn’t being left in the dust after sharing such a humiliating thing that happened to me,” he said. “The hardest part was being separated from family during the process of the investigation.”
Another challenge for this individual was the slowness of the court process. It isn’t as easy as it looks on CSI. The case isn’t solved in one night and court proceedings don’t happen quickly. Support was continuous throughout the legal process with advocacy providing transportation when needed and emotional support.
Largely by the support that this individual was provided, he was able to overcome fear and look his offender in the eye during sentencing. He finally felt powerful again. It all started with someone believing.
The Sexual Assault Response Team (S.A.R.T.) is proud of this individual for coming forward and stopping an offender from violating more members in our community. We are also thankful to community members who are not bystanders but believe and respond to assist those who may become a victim of a crime.
The S.A.R.T. team is made up of Law Enforcement, the S.A.N.E (sexual assault nurse examiners) program from the Wellness Center of Door County, Sexual Assault Center of Door County, Social Services of Door County, District Attorney’s Office, and HELP of Door County.
If you or someone you know is unsafe and would like to speak to an advocate please call HELP of Door County, Inc at 920.743.8818 or the Sexual Assault Center at 920.746.8996.
This article is brought to you in part by the Door County Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Teams and the Door County Elder and Adult-at-Risk Interdisciplinary Team.