Grant Aids Rape Victims Money Planned for Education
Wakefield, Vivian, The Florida Times Union
Separating fact from fiction will soon become easier for
Jacksonville rape prevention advocates, thanks to a state grant.
Officials with the city's Victim Services Division announced
this week the award of the three-year, $93,250 annual grant from
the Florida Department of Health. The grant will fund rape
prevention and education efforts.
Funding begins April 1. Jacksonville received the third-largest
such award in the state.
The Children's Crisis Center, which will manage the money, will
hire a coordinator to work with schools, government and
non-profit agencies to educate students, the public and
professionals about rape.
"We know that based on presentations that we do, and hot line
calls that we get, that people still suffer from perceiving rape
as a crime of passion or are very caught up in the myths of
sexual assaults," said Debbi Thomas, program manager of Victim
Services' sexual assault program.
"The facts are that rape is [a] crime of violence, not a crime
of passion," Thomas said. "A rapist is looking for a vulnerable
victim. It has nothing to do with her clothing, how short her
skirt is or where she chooses to go."
Lee Ann Summersgill, a rape victim who agreed to be named, said
the biggest weapon against sexual assault is education.
"We need to be educating as early as we can to try to break
some myths about hwhat rape is about," she said. "You can't
really determine a rapist by their characteristics."
Though there are some red flags women can look for in
preventing rapes, they don't determine who will be a rapist and
who won't, Summersgill said. …