The county’s Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with Shady Grove Adventist Hospital’s Forensic Unit, has begun a Ride On bus and bike share kiosks ad campaign, officials announced.
The campaign is designed to tell residents of the services available for sexual assault victims, in particular, the sexual assault forensic exams provided by the hospital, which have decreased during the pandemic.
“No one should have to experience the trauma of being sexually assaulted,” Dr. Rolando Santiago, chief of Behavioral Health and Crisis Services at DHHS, said in a press release. “We know it is hard to know what to do after a sexual assault or intimate partner violent event, but a victim’s safety and health are vitally important. For any victim, our message is simple – healing is possible, and help is here.”
Every 68 seconds in the United States, a person is the victim of a sexual assault; and nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by their intimate partner, according to the release, and the exams “address a crime victim’s physical needs, collect evidence and document injuries.”
In addition, the county’s Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program can link survivors to the local rape crisis center, domestic violence program, and police, if requested, for help.
The VASAP program and its volunteers are available 24/7 at 240.777.4357.
Photo courtesy DHHS