By Darla Shelden
The YWCA Oklahoma City recently hosted its 4th annual 2 Minute 5K at Regatta Park in downtown Oklahoma City. The race, held annually during sexual assault awareness month, raises funds that will benefit the YWCA’s services for victims of sexual assault, including the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program and hospital advocacy.
The event is titled “2 Minute 5K” to highlight some startling statistical information.
“Every two minutes someone in the U.S. becomes a victim of sexual assault, and we think that hurts way too many people,” said Janet L. Peery, CEO of the YWCA Oklahoma City. “This race not only raises funds for us to assist victims of sexual assault, but it also raises awareness about a serious issue that many people don’t realize happens right here in our own community.”
During the Kiddie 1K, a visit from Cooper, the Oklahoma City RedHawk’s mascot, guaranteed to get the day off to a fun start. Along with the two races, the event included live music, awards, a community fair, a fire truck for children to explore, and other family-friendly activities.
“The YWCA OKC’s Sexual Assault Programs provide 24-hour response to meet the needs of the community,” said Karla Docter, Senior Director of Sexual Assault Services. “We provide services across a continuum of care starting with the 24 hour Sexual Assault Hotline, providing an Advocate to assist with safety and support during a Sexual Assault Nurse Exam, as well as case management, free counseling and a sexual assault support group. We also serve as a resource center to the community by offering information, speakers, and referrals.”
When a victim is taken to the hospital for a forensic exam, the YWCA coordinates getting a volunteer nurse and advocate to the hospital within one hour. Hospital advocates are trained volunteers who provide emotional support and resources for victims to make them as comfortable as possible during and after the exam.
“With early intervention, victims are able to decrease the symptoms of traumatic stress, improve their ability to cope and heal from their experiences,” said Docter. “They will perform better in school/work and will be able to form healthy relationships with peers. Early intervention will increase the likelihood that they will be able to form and maintain functional relationships.”
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, the YWCA provided sexual assault advocacy to 365 of primary and 263 secondary victims of sexual violence.
“You can support the YWCA Oklahoma City, and most importantly the sexual assault survivors in Oklahoma, in several ways. You can speak out about sexual assault, educate yourself about rape myths, stand up for those victimized or volunteer in one of our many lifesaving programs or special projects. The YWCA clients are also in need of clothing and other supplies,” said Docter.
YWCA’s 5K Title Sponsor for 2012 was Chesapeake Energy and the event’s Legacy Sponsor was The Chickasaw Nation.
Additional sponsors of the 2 Minute 5K Run included First Med Urgent Care, RCB Bank, Mike Wimmer, Amtrak Heartland Flyer, Tinker Federal Credit Union, AT&T, Red Coyote Running and Fitness and Comtech Design Print & Mail.
The YWCA Oklahoma City is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice and dignity for all. The YWCA Oklahoma City is best known as the only certified shelter for battered women and children in Oklahoma County.
More than15,000 women, children and men receive help through YWCA programs, including emergency shelter for battered women and children, counseling, support groups, child care, transitional housing, financial literacy, batterer’s intervention and other services.
Ongoing community outreach efforts of the YWCA provide education on the issues of domestic and family violence, the empowerment of women and strategies to end racism.
YMCA officials hope people will save the date for YWCA’s annual Purple Sash fundraising gala, to be held on Saturday, June 23, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, in Oklahoma City. The evening will include fashion, food, wine and silent and live auctions.
For more information on the YWCA Oklahoma City, visit www.ywcaokc.org .