I’ve been volunteering with the North Coast Rape Crisis Team for almost five years now. I joined the team for two reasons: 1) I wanted to be a therapist, and wanted to make sure I could deal with difficult issues and still sleep at night. (I can.) And 2) it seemed so important that such an organization should exist to help people deal with personal violence in such a way that they can heal and continue to live their lives with hope. The training was not easy. The organization wants to make sure we can deal with difficult issues and keep our wits about us, they want us to know what we can and cannot do and say, and they want to make sure we know how to take care of ourselves when we get a rough call. Our training group began with ten, four actually finished, and three were still volunteering six months later. Those of us who volunteer or work there are still there because we care. We want to help every woman, man, and child who has dealt with rape, molestation, and/or sexual harassment to get the help they need, to be supported in their decision to report it or not, and most of all to move toward healing.
The North Coast Rape Crisis Team (NCRCT) works in Del Norte and Humboldt Counties (CA). Each rape crisis organization may be a little different, but each of them are there to help survivors of sexual assault/harassment. NCRCT maintains offices in Crescent City and Eureka, CA, which are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm. To maintain confidentiality they do not advertise where they are, but you can reach the Crescent City office at (707) 465-6961, and the Eureka office at (707) 443-2737. Both offices also have a 24-hour hotline, which you can call any time, any day and talk with a rape crisis counselor. (Outside of office hours it is channeled through an answering service, so after you ask to speak with a counselor you might have to wait 2-5 minutes before someone comes on the line to talk with you.) The Hotline number in Del Norte County is 465-2851. In Humboldt County it is 445-2881.
NCRCT provides telephone counseling, information, support during assault related medical exams, accompaniment during law enforcement interviews and court dates, ten free counseling sessions for survivors, education presentations for schools and organizations, and connections with other agencies that offer relevent services. We are advocates for the survivor and their immediate family members. That means if you choose to report the crime, we help you with that. And if you choose not to report what happened to you, we support you in that decision. Most of all, we are a listening ear when you need to talk. We believe you and we will not blame you. The Hotlines (and some of the services) are available to survivors and to their immediate family members.
Hopefully neither you nor any of your family members or friends will need services from a rape crisis organization. Yet it can happen, even to people who are being careful and aware. It happens. And if it does, remember that life can go on, and you can heal. It takes time, but you can heal. Give the people at a rape crisis organization a call — they can help.