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Local sex assault survivor, 15, aims to increase awareness of violence | Community Spirit

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Local sex assault survivor, 15, aims to increase awareness of violence
Local sex assault survivor, 15, aims to increase awareness of violence

RIPON - The SavingStephanie organization will work with the Ripon Police Department to increase sexual assault awareness in our community. SavingStephanie is a sexual assault awareness organization that was founded by sexual assault survivor, Stephanie Braithwaite, 15, to increase community awareness and provide support and referrals to sexual assault victims.

The organization, lead by this courageous young woman, intends to work with the Ripon Police Department and Police Chief Ed Ormonde, to carry this message to the community by tying teal colored ribbons to the antennas of all the police departments’ patrol cars, community service vehicles, and volunteer vehicles. The ribbon recognizes every person affected by sexual assault and offers a symbol of hope to every Survivor on the path to healing. These ribbons will stand as a reminder that sexual violence is everyone’s issue, and that there is hope and support for those affected by it. It is crucial that our community becomes aware, not just of the problem, but of the solution.

Braithwaite is encouraged by the amount of support she has already received from the community, including the support of the San Joaquin County Women’s Center. It is her hope that “my organization will help, inform, or at least alert one person to this very real issue.” She believes that she can make a dramatic difference by sharing her experience, strength, and hope with others.

The SavingStephanie Organization plans to present theatrical productions that address this very serious issue by using survivor’s stories to share the impact this has on the individual and our community. These productions will be used in local schools, and community centers starting in March 2011. The organization also plans to continue its work with law enforcement agencies and The Women’s Center on various projects.

Sexual violence can happen to both males and females, of any age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or physical appearance. Sexual violence is among the most underreported crime due to fear, shame, and misunderstanding. It is Braithwaite’s goal to encourage change and help other victims to feel supported and encouraged.

For more information about the organization, call (209) 828-9044 or email savingstephanie@rocketmail.com.

Manteca / Tracy / Ripon Deals