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SAAFE Center celebrates 25th anniversary

The Sexual Assault Awareness for Empowerment center, Wood County’s rape crisis center, celebrated their 25th anniversary on Wednesday at Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green.

The goal of the event was to raise awareness in Bowling Green for the SAAFE center and for the services they provide.

“We’re just trying to familiarize people with our services,” said Crecia Decker, program coordinator for SAAFE. “Maybe not many people know about us so our goal is to let them know we’re here.”

The SAAFE Center’s mission is to provide crisis intervention, emotional support, medical and legal advocacy, support groups and information and referrals for sexual assault, stalking, sexual harassment and sex trafficking victims, according to the SAAFE center’s website.

“We want to make people aware that sexual assault is evident out there and that there are services out there to help people and help them go from a victim to a survivor,” Decker said. “There are people out there that can be with them every step of the way.”

The SAAFE center consists of six staff members and 15 volunteer advocates who are available around the clock to provide help.

Julie Broadwell, director of the SAAFE center, has been with the rape crisis center since 1991 and says that the success of SAAFE is measured by the efforts they are able to put forth into helping those in need.

“We are here 24/7 for any survivor who needs us,” Broadwell said. “Emergencies happen at any time. We are able to respond at two in the morning on a Tuesday if someone needs us.”

Attendees of the event were free to help themselves to candy, enter a drawing to win prizes, view displays regarding the services of the SAAFE center and chat with members of the staff who were available to talk.

The event was hosted at Grounds for Thought because they too are celebrating their 25th anniversary, and because of the local support they provide.

“We specifically chose Grounds for Thought because this business is very supportive of different activities in Bowling Green,” Broadwell said. “Our advocates meet with clients here sometimes because it’s a really nice, quiet setting … it’s very private and confidential.”

The event was also a way to inform people about other events that the SAAFE center has coming up.

“We have a support group that’s starting up later this month and that’s the first time we’ve done that kind of thing,” Broadwell said. “We have the Clothesline Project as well, so we always have different events going on.”

For more information regarding this event, future events, the SAAFE center or the services they provide, visit their website at or call them at 419-352-1545.

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