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Victim advocacy group celebrating 25 years in community

POSTED: October 18, 2013 11:11 p.m.

Rape Response is celebrating 25 years serving sexual assault survivors in Northeast Georgia with an event Monday at First Baptist Church in Gainesville.

“It’s just drop-in, real casual, and there will be hors d’oeuvres,” said Jeanne Buffington, executive director of the Gainesville organization.

The 6 p.m. program is open to the public and will honor founder Wendy Glasbrenner with a short program, she said.

Buffington said Glasbrenner and other like-minded folks partnered with Gateway Domestic Violence Center to initiate services for victims.

“They saw a need (to meet) for sexual assault victims; they started providing limited services in 1986,” Buffington said.

Rape Response opened its doors as a standalone service in December 1998 to serve both Hall and Habersham counties. The service area now includes Dawson, White and Lumpkin counties as well.

“I think it’s important to honor women like her ... with a vision to make a difference in our communities and to provide services,” Buffington said.

The organization cites statistics that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men are survivors of sexual assault.

“Nobody wants to think about rape or sexual assault in their community, so she had that initial vision to step up and show there was a true need for this and for a standalone agency,” Buffington added.

Rape Response provides free and confidential services, including a 24/7 crisis hotline, crisis intervention, medical and legal accompaniment and resource referrals.

Thirty-five trained volunteers take calls to answer the crisis line and assist victims in the hospital, according to the organization.

Buffington said others, including past executive directors and those on the board, also stay involved.

“For me to still have the support of the previous two executive directors, I feel so blessed to have those women who started the agency remain involved,” she said.


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