This October is the thirty seventh Home Violence Consciousness Month — and the fiftieth anniversary of north-central West Virginia’s Rape and Home Violence Info Middle.
As one would count on from a corporation that helps survivors of assault and abuse, RDVIC’s origin story isn’t a cheerful one. As Virginia Hopkins tells it, she was a younger, idealistic lawyer, working for the North Central West Virginia Authorized Support Society in Morgantown in 1972. A younger girl got here to her for assist: She’d been gang-raped months earlier than and have become pregnant however determined to maintain the infant. She got here to Hopkins as a result of she feared for each her and her child’s lives. And Hopkins needed to flip her away.
On the time, there have been only a few legal guidelines on the books to guard survivors of rape and home violence — and what few legal guidelines existed had been not often enforced with prosecutions. The standard knowledge of the time was in the event you had been burglarizing a spot and also you discovered a girl alone, the sexual assault was on the home, as a result of that cost was at all times dropped.
As few legal guidelines as there have been, there have been even fewer help companies for survivors. Hopkins and like-minded attorneys, prosecutors, cops and hospital ER staffers started networking, placing collectively a gaggle of sufferer advocates right here in Morgantown. They wrote to a corporation in Michigan that was already doing what they wished to do — and it wrote them again. With somewhat little bit of steerage and lots of resolve, they shaped what has grow to be the RDVIC we all know right this moment.
RDVIC supplies quite a lot of help and data companies to victims and survivors of harassment, stalking, home violence and sexual abuse and assault. In response to its web site, RDVIC affords emergency shelter, counseling, help teams, advocacy and group schooling — all freed from cost and confidential.
RDVIC maintains a 24-hour hotline (which doubles because the Monongalia County line) that may be reached at 304-292-5100. There are additionally county-specific traces: Preston County at 304-329-1687; and Taylor County at 304-265-6534. For extra info or to entry RDVIC’s on-line assets, go to rdvic.org.
Sexual assault, abuse and harassment and home violence are far too prevalent. And, as RDVIC’s origin story signifies, such issues had been largely unacknowledged or swept underneath the rug for many years — and generally nonetheless are. However occasions are altering. Whereas there may be nonetheless a stigma round sex- and gender-based crimes, there was a tidal wave of help in recent times for survivors, in addition to pushback towards victim-blaming and shaming, à la the #MeToo motion.
However earlier than there was #MeToo, there was RDVIC, creating security nets for survivors and educating the group. For 50 years, it’s been making our space safer and extra supportive — and we all know it is going to proceed to take action for years to come back.
The RDVIC shall be celebrating its half-century of group help and advocacy with a gala Friday night from 6:30-10 p.m. on the Lodge Morgan Ballroom. Tickets to the occasion are nonetheless out there: $75 for entrance to the occasion, or $100 for entrance plus two drink tickets. There shall be a money bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres and Bonnie Belle’s Desserts. The extra bourbon-tasting requires a separate ticket and registration. Rick Ok. & The Allnighters will present the night’s leisure.
If you happen to’d wish to help RDVIC however can’t attend the gala, you can also make a donation at rdvic.org/donate.