By Jay Lancaster
Representatives from the YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis Center recently spoke to the school committee about the steps they are taking to educate area students about sexual assault awareness and prevention. Ross Steinborn, the community outreach coordinator for the YWCA, explained what the center does like to the committee.
“We run a 24 hour crisis hotline and we do empowerment-based non-clinical individual and group counseling for sexual assault survivors, and that’s for [ages] 12 and up. We also do some legal accompaniment for sexual assault survivors, as well as medical advocacy, so if somebody were to go to the hospital and say that he or she was assaulted the emergency room would do what’s colloquially known as a rape kit and they could have somebody there with them. All that is free of charge, we are sponsored y the Department of Public Health in Massachusetts and so [another] thing that we do is educational workshops for colleges, high schools, and professionals.”
The YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis Center is also taking part in Northeastern University’s Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program which is currently promoting a series of public-private partnerships that team women’s advocacy organizations up with area high schools to teach students how to identify and properly deal with abusive relationships and possible instances of sexual assault.
Cindy Sue, the Teen and Young Adult Educator for the center, spoke about the center’s work with the MVP program. “So we did this programming with Lynn English High School and had really positive outcomes and we met with 30 students and they were all trained in this three-day 8-hour training curriculum with MVP and we were able to support their and supplement educational work and continue to work this coming year.”
The program is funded by a grant from the New England Patriots and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office and is currently being implemented in 98 Massachusetts high schools.
Expanding on the center’s work, Sue added that the YWCA taches about more than sexual assault.
“We don’t do just consent training, we have a collaboration with Girls Inc. where we ran an after school 8, 10 and 12-week program every session essentially on self-esteem.”
The center is located at 20 Central Avenue in Lynn and can be reached at ywcansrcc.org.
If you or someone you know is in danger, the YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis Center’s 24-hour hotline phone number is 1-800-922-8772.