By Samantha Corpus
The Sexual Assault Resource Center will host their first SARC Benefit Luncheon on Sept. 19, noon to 1pm, at the Best Western Premier in Bryan. Seating will begin at 11:3oam. Texas A&M University Women’s Basketball Coach Gary Blair is the guest speaker, and Karla Castillo from KBTX will be the master of ceremonies.
The fundraiser is sponsored by Best Western Premier, where the event will be held, and Baylor Scott & White Health, who is providing the meal. The proceeds from table sales and donations help fund SARC’s free services and programs that are available to anyone who is or has been a victim of sexual violence or assault.
SARC has been serving the Brazos Valley for 34 years. They serve the Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson, and Washington counties. SARC was started by the district attorney’s office in response to survivors and victims of sexual assault who needed help with everything from the process of the law enforcement investigation to the court proceedings.
“We are here to provide services for anyone, no matter when it happened, who are victims of sexual assault or sexual violence,” says SARC Executive Director Martha Garcia Opersteny.
SARC provides free and confidential services to anyone 13 years and older, which include crisis intervention and medical accompaniment following assault, whether or not they report to the police. They also provide counseling for survivors, family members, or anyone close who may be affected, and for adult survivors of childhood sexual assault or abuse.
SARC also provides prevention and awareness education programs for all ages. Their main focus, especially to children, is to establish what violence and abuse look like to prevent possible future occurrences.
SARC has seen a 30 percent increase in services so far this year. Last year from January to May, they saw 66 people at the hospital, and this year they have seen 92.
In 2016, SARC served 553 clients, they met 159 people at the hospital following an assault, and 722 hotline calls were answered. They also presented 393 education presentations to more than 14,000 people.
A majority of SARC’s funding comes from state and federal grants. Two of their current grants require a 20 and 35 percent local community match. The proceeds from the luncheon will help SARC reach the requirements to keep the grants, and to continue funding their educational programs and free services to those who need it.
To purchase a table for the luncheon, contact the SARC office at (979) 731-1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tables are $250 and seat eight people. Donations can be made at any time through their website at www.sarcbv.org.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, abuse, or molestation, call the SARC 24-hour hotline at (979) 731-1000.