Staff from the Family Refuge Center in Lewisburg, WV will participate in the upcoming 2021 Virtual Sexual Violence Awareness Day at the Legislature on March 4th. The team will meet with representatives from Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, and Pocahontas Counties to bring awareness to the prevalence of sexual violence in West Virginia. The public is invited to participate via Family Refuge Center’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/familyrefugecenter.

In West Virginia, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 21 men will be victims of an attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetimes (WVDHHR, BRFSS, 2008). In addition to the human cost, the criminal justice system cost of not preventing sexual violence is high. More inmates are incarcerated in WV prison facilities for forcible rape than for any other crime, costing the state over $42 million in 2019 for sex-related offenses.

Sexual Violence Awareness Day is intended to bring attention to the issues of sexual violence in West Virginia and the need for sustained services and support to serve those who have experienced sexual violence. This year, several legislative bills have been introduced to address this public health issue, including SB495, which creates the crime of sexual extortion.

This event is hosted by the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services (WVFRIS), the state sexual assault coalition. WVFRIS is the network of the state’s 12 rape crisis centers and other allied professionals, working to develop and strengthen intervention and prevention programs that address sexual violence. WVFRIS also addresses the issues of stalking, human trafficking and dating violence and supports state and local efforts to respond to and eliminate these forms of violence. For more information, please visit www.fris.org.

Family Refuge Center is a community-based, non-profit organization committed to ending physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and violence. Family Refuge Center provides direct services including shelter, crisis intervention, advocacy, information and referral, and community education to survivors in Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe and Pocahontas counties in southern West Virginia. For more information on services, please call (304)645-6334 or visit www.familyrefugecenter.org.


Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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