MASON CITY — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Crisis Intervention Service is hosting weekly events in Mason City and Clear Lake. The organization is inviting people to “Cup of Prevention” meetings each Thursday this month for a free cup of coffee and some casual conversation about sexual assault, healthy relationships and consent.
Mary Ingham says they want people to approach them with any questions that they have and to make them aware of a good coordinated response here in north-central Iowa when sexual assault takes place. “The relationship between Crisis Intervention Service and law enforcement, and the hospital and prosecution is one of the best in the state. What we really need is our entire community, just if everyone had just a little more information about sexual assault, I think our community would be a safer place. We want to make sure that every single child, teen, and adult knows where to go for help if something bad happens. And then more importantly, how can we prevent assault, how can you put Crisis Intervention Service out of business.”
Ingham says people heal better from experiences like sexual assault if they talk to someone and get support right away. “Last year, we worked with 2800 individuals in North Iowa that have been impacted by sexual assault. A lot of those are recent assaults that have just happened. We will have someone that’s 60 years old and he wonderful programs at a church and afterwards come and tell us I was sexually assaulted in high school and I never told anyone until today. So to know that someone’s been walking around with that guilt, that stigma, that shame for all those years is one of the most heartbreaking things that we hear.”
Ingham says the number one co-occurring issue with sexual violence is alcohol. “Alcohol remains to be the number one date rape drug. When people drink alcohol, their responses change, and it’s a great tactic for a lot of people that are looking to target someone. It’s easier to target the drunk girl than the sober girl.”
The “Cup of Prevention” events will take place at the Cabin Coffee location in Mason City on Thursday April 4th and 18th, and their Clear Lake location on Thursday April 11th and 25th. The events go from 7:00 to 9:00 AM.