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Lawrence’s Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center to host 50th anniversary soiree this week

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The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center will host a celebration for its 50th anniversary this week.

The event, which is set for 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 at Venue 1235, will have drinks, mocktails, food trucks and a walking historical timeline. An awards ceremony highlighting the center’s team will begin at 5:15. You can register for free here

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The Care Center was founded in 1972, making it the first rape crisis center in the state of Kansas. It offers both group and individual therapy sessions for survivors, a 24/7 support hotline, comprehensive sexual education and community workshops that focus on preventing sexual violence — all free of charge for survivors and participants.

As one of the country’s first crisis centers, the Care Center has deep roots in the Lawrence community. It began with grassroots efforts as volunteers from Douglas County responded to the growing number of sexual assaults occurring on the University of Kansas campus, striving to create a safe space where survivors could find a support system and sense of community. Since 1972, the Care Center has served thousands of clients — around 900 individuals sought the center’s services in 2021 alone. 

In 1978, The Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center was renamed to Rape Victim Support Services before changing to the GaDuGi SafeCenter in 2004. GaDuGi (pronounced (GAH-doo-ghee), is a Cherokee word that translates to “working together in a community sense.” The name change came after many expressed concerns for the center having the word “rape” in its name; representatives from Haskell Indian Nations University were called upon to help find a more inclusive and all-encompassing title. It was changed back to the Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center in 2015 because some people were unaware of the name’s meaning, and it could be difficult for people in crisis to remember and spell.

The idea behind the center’s purpose, however, remains the same despite what it’s called: provide quality care through a variety of services without having to charge clients a dime. Since its creation 50 years ago, the Care Center has expanded to serve Jefferson and Franklin Counties with offices in Oskaloosa and Ottawa. 

The 50th anniversary soiree will celebrate the Care Center’s history and make a toast to its future. Read more about the center here.

Resources for survivors

If you have experienced sexual violence or trauma, please seek the help that’s right for you. There are many options available, and you don’t have to file a police report if you don’t want to.

Get 24/7 help in Lawrence: The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center
  • Call 785-843-8985 to reach an advocate, 24/7. (Consider saving that number in your phone in case you or someone you know ever needs it.)
  • After an assault: What are my options? Check this page for detailed information about
    • talking to an advocate,
    • going to the hospital,
    • making a police report,
    • and/or talking to a counselor or therapist.
  • On campus? Check this page for specific resources for the University of Kansas, Haskell Indian Nations University, Baker University, Ottawa University and more.
Resources on KU’s campus:
  • Contact the CARE (Campus Assistance, Resource, and Education) Coordinator: Make an appointment by email, care@ku.edu, or by calling 785-864-9255.
  • Direct message KU CARE Sisters on Instagram. You don’t need to be affiliated with Greek Life to reach out and/or receive assistance.
  • Find more KU campus resources at this link.
Domestic violence situations: The Willow Domestic Violence Center
  • Reach the Willow for help 24/7 at 785-843-3333.
  • Find more resources on the Willow’s website at this link.
  • National hotline: Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), text “START” to 88788, and/or visit thehotline.org to chat and learn more, 24/7.

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Chloe Anderson (she/her), a contributor to The Lawrence Times, is a senior at the University of Kansas majoring in film and media production and minoring in journalism. She’s a freelance photographer, writer for Climbing magazine and the associate multimedia editor for The University Daily Kansan.

You can view her portfolio, articles and commissioned work here. Read more of her work for the Times here.

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