Empowerment topic for women's seminar

Being prepared and empowered is the focus of the Healthy Woman March presentation, “You are Not Alone.”The topic will center around sexual assault awareness and take place on the fourth floor in the activity room at Scenic Mountain Medical Center. There will be two opportunities to attend — Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. with a light lunch provided and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. with snacks available. “This is not necessarily a comfortable or fun topic, but it is educational and something we need to be informed about,” Kim Howell, SMMC marketing director, said. “We are always looking for topics that fit into our mission of empowering women and this topic does that.”Howell said it is important for women to be educated on the frequency of sexual assault occurrences and the signs to look for. The program will include a tour of the SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) room, given by Christine Everett, RN, and she will speak about the importance of the exams for sexual assault survivors. “This is a reality that occurs daily. It happens to all races, all genders and all classes,” Everett said. Statistics show that every five minutes a sexual assault occurs and each year 200,000 are reported. However, there is an estimated 60 percent that go unreported. Guest speaker will be Sandy Allen. She will share her first-hand experience of devastating, after-effects of domestic violence. She is raising her three grandchildren after her step-daughter was brutally murdered by her estranged husband. Victim Services will also be providing statistics and discuss victim issues and how those interested can become advocates for victims. “April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and this is a great lead in to that,” Howell said. “As much as we don't want to believe it, it is happening and we can stick our heads in the sand and pretend it isn't happening and hope it goes away or we can educate ourselves and become part of the solution.”To reserve your spot — the event is free, but reservations are requested to allow for a head count — call Howell at 268-4842 or Anita Cline at 268-4721.