April is Sexual Violence Awareness Month and Someplace Safe Crime Victim Advocate Bridgett Karels told the KMRS Community Connection that going digital with their services during the pandemic is a double-edged sword. Their offices are not open for walk-in traffic in any of the nine western Minnesota counties they serve. But, Karels said,
“We know that people are struggling to reach out and access services because they are quarantined with their abuser and their abuser is always there and monitoring their activity. They can’t make a phone call to call us to say ‘I need help.’ They can’t call the police. It’s got to be a covert action if they are ready to seek services and get out of that situation.”
Karels said it’s a very Minnesotan attitude for victims to keep their heads down and just try to survive the situation. Someplace Safe served 150 clients in Stevens County in 2019, with 14 of those victims of sexual assault or exploitation. Throughout the nine-county area they serve, Someplace Safe dealt with 4,148 clients in 2019. The public can show their support for victims of sexual assault on Denim Day, Wednesday, April 29, by wearing denim.