Rape crisis center expands outreach

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Rape crisis and prevention center Our Voice has announced a collaboration with the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault to provide training to its member agencies on the dangers of drug facilitated sexual assault in drinking establishments and the importance of bystander intervention in preventing rape.

Our Voice launched The Bar Outreach Project in 2008 after noticing an increase in the reports of drug facilitated sexual assaults from local bars and other businesses where alcoholic beverages are served.

The bar initiative resulted in the development of a curriculum that has been marketed to other communities in Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Vermont. The South Carolina coalition is the first to pick up the curriculum for its members.  Project managers Daniel Lee and Matt Lynn expressed their enthusiasm in a message to South Carolina’s domestic violence and sexual assault agencies.  “Preventing drug facilitated sexual assault is possible,” says Lynn, “but it takes the whole community working together, being watchful of each other’s safety and being vigilant against any aspect of our culture that promotes rape.”

Though the popular belief that drugs such as rophypnol, ketamine and GHB are the most commonly used drugs to facilitate sexual assault, alcohol is the most frequently used drug. An offender may assault an intoxicated person who does not consent, or take advantage of someone after they black out from overuse. An offender may also pressure someone to drink heavily or mix extra-strong drinks as a way of compromising their ability to consent to sexual activity.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, one in four women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime, and one-half of those assaults will involve alcohol consumption by the victim and/or the perpetrator of the assault. Our Voice’s response to the epidemic on a local level was to empower bar owners and workers to foster environments that are safe for the public from all forms of drug facilitated sexual assault.

Sara Barber, Executive Director of South Carolina’s coalition, is eager about the challenge of partnering with local establishments to end rape: “By bringing sexual assault awareness to bars and restaurants, we increase visibility for these issues and normalize anti-violence attitudes and behaviors. Besides teaching bystander intervention techniques, we hope this training will encourage bars to consider how they can be a safe space and contribute to a culture where sexual violence will not be tolerated.”

info: ourvoicenc.org.

Senior care seminar upcoming

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — “Prepare to Care for the LGBT Community” will be presented by AARP on Nov. 9, 12 p.m., at the Area Agency on Aging, Lake of Sky Regional Council, 339 New Leicester Hwy. It is sponsored by LGBT Elder Advocates.

Participants will be able to learn ways to deal with challenges and be a more effective caregiver for those in the LGBTQ community who have a non-traditional family. Class time includes information on how to have vital conversations with older family members, organize important documents, assess loved one’s needs and locate important resources. The program is free and open to the community.

Call 877-926-8300 to RSVP or register online at aarp.cvent.com/NCPrepare2careLGBT. Those who pre-register will be provided with lunch.

info: aarp.org/nc.

PFLAG chapter gets grant

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. — The Flat Rock-Hendersonville Chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) has been awarded a $2,000 grant from the Alliance For Full Acceptance (AFFA), headquartered in Charleston, S.C.

The grant will support PFLAG’s youth enrichment program, including a new scholarship for an LGBTQ or allied student.

“The Flat Rock-Hendersonville PFLAG chapter is delighted that Alliance for Full Acceptance sees that our work with LGBT students and their allies is important,” said chapter president Jerry Miller. “This grant will give us the opportunity to increase our financial support for the work of the student groups in our schools. We greatly appreciate their confidence in our organization.”

Monthly meetings are held the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at Provident Baptist Church, 1201 Oakland St. in Hendersonville.

info: pglag.org.pglaghendersonville@gmail.com.

Prez vacates post

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. — SisterCare WNC has announced that its president and one of its founding members, Cindy Moors, has tendered her resignation from the board of directors due to personal reasons.

“The spirit of the founding members, including Cindy, are still with us as we transform to a new stage of evolution,” the organization shared.

Since its inception in 2012, its primary objective was to provide “more than socialization” to lesbians in its community. Focus was centered on providing “family in action” to those experiencing challenges in their daily lives.

Now, four years later, it has moved toward being inclusive with the entire LGBTA community. And, with that, SisterCare found that it could no longer effectively connect individuals as it went beyond its capacity as a volunteer board. So, the board is in “the process of re-defining the ways in which we will bring ‘family in action’ to life, and how to incorporate our new model with the network of LGBTQ providers in our community,” it said. The shift will continue to provide connection’s opportunities while serving those in need. Involvement in larger scale efforts will likely occur.

info: sistercarewnc.com.

Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: editor@goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com.

Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBTQ issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBTQ rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.