SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health reports that rape is the only violent crime in Utah that occurs at a higher rate than that of the rest of the nation. It's hard for many of these victims to seek help, but help is there.
According to The Utah Department of Health, one in three Utah women will experience some type of sexual assault in her lifetime. For sexual assault awareness month, the Rape Recovery Center in Salt Lake City held an open house Tuesday to give people an opportunity to get involved and give hope to those who are trying to recover from a traumatic experience like rape.
These volunteers help others find refuge, answers and a gentle hug during one of the scariest terrors for women.
"This is a safe place for them to come, and someone is going to listen to them and help align them with resources," said volunteer coordinator McKenzie Edmonds.
As one of the center's coordinators, Edmonds relies on the kindness of others and their work. The center's 24-hour crisis line is staffed entirely by volunteers. Directors for the center said people are often timid to come in and lend a hand, but they will receive plenty of training.
The state puts volunteers through 40 hours of training, requires certification, and all employees agree to confidentiality.
"Frequently I go home at the end of the day and ... look in my car rear-view mirror and say, 'This is such hard work, but it's such good work,'" said Rape Recovery Center Executive Director Holly Mullens.
Edmonds said just one approach will not solve this type of crime, but progress begins at places like the center.
"I had skills to help people but I didn't know how to use those, and I wanted to do it in a way that was empowering someone" Edmonds said.
The Rape Recovery Center is asking if anyone has a few hours of spare time get involved, or if you know of someone who has gone through a traumatic experience like rape, you can head into the center or to raperecoverycenter.org.