A new census is making the people of North Dakota more aware of sexual violence.
The North Dakota Council on Abused Women coordinated and released the first-ever statewide census of the number and type of sexual violence services provided in the state during one week.
The census says that 78 victims of sexual violence sought help at organizations in North Dakota, and most of them called hotlines. It also revealed that two victims were treated in the hospital and received medical services.
Logan Cassas, coordinator of crisis intervention at the Community Violence Intervention Center in Grand Forks, said sor all to see.
“We’ve always known that this violence was going on, but often the general public doesn’t know these things, so I’m happy that they have this information, and they know what goes on,” Cassas said.
Being this is the first census they’ve ever done, they don’t know if the numbers have risen or fallen in the last year.
The census consists of information from other programs in the region like the CVIC that support victims of this type of violence. The Alpha Chi Omega sorority at UND focuses on the prevention of domestic violence. They also work with the CVIC in Grand Forks to help victims and survivors.
Maddie Worden is a member of Alpha Chi Omega and said the census helps bring more awareness of the problems to people who overlook them.
“If it doesn’t happen in your own backyard, then people don’t normally care, but now people can see these statistics and see the amount of violence that actually goes on and they can help prevent it,” Worden said.
Some people think that the public is blind to sexual violence.
“Basically, if it doesn’t happen to them or someone they care about, then to them this isn’t an issue. Like what we can’t see isn’t there,” UND student Maddison Streff said.
One of the things the census covered was that due to a lack of staff and financial services, 14 requests for services by victims were not met. If services are not met, like counseling and medical care, then that means that 14 people could not get the help they needed.
Cassas said the money they receive at the CVIC goes toward training service providers, educators about domestic violence, the women’s shelter and emergency medical care for victims of sexual violence. She said the CVIC wants to improve these services so that there aren’t any unmet requests by victims.
“Our goal is to help as many people as we can and to give them a safe place to go when they need it. We want people to know that our door is always open and no matter your situation, we will help you,” Cassas said.