You can make a difference during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Statewide clothing drive helps victims of sexual assault

Story by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

April is, among other things, Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  It is our hope that this story will help raise awareness of sexual harassment and assault among our readers and maybe, just maybe, make a difference for the positive in the lives of our Soldiers and Airmen and their families and friends.

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Chief Warrant Officer Jennifer Maggard helps Charles Lay sort through donated clothing. Lay is the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the Kentucky National Guard while Maggard is the Joint Force Headquarters Victim’s Advocate.

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky National Guard is holding a statewide donation drive through the end of April in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This is part of the Kentucky Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program/Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Prevention.

“We’ve set up collection points at all of our National Guard armories across the state,” said Charles Lay, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the Kentucky National Guard. “If you don’t live near a Guard unit you can donate directly to your local rape crisis center.”

Click here and then follow the links to locate your local rape crisis center,  

“We collected close to 900 items last year and I’m hoping to beat that number this year,” said Lay.

The clothing drive goes on through the end of April. This is the second year the Kentucky Guard has participated in the drive.

Lay explained that the items collected during the drive will be donated to the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs and provided to survivors of sexual assault who elect to have a sexual assault forensic examination completed. During this exam, the survivor’s clothing is collected as evidence.

“The donated clothing gives the victim something to wear when they leave the hospital,” Lay said. “This is a lot better than wearing a hospital gown and helps the victim maintain their dignity after going through such a traumatic experience.”

SafeHelpline_MilitaryThe following items are recommended for collection: socks, underwear (teens, men and women), bras, t-shirts, sweatshirts, elastic waist sweat pants (jersey material) or scrubs. Sizes: M, L, XL, 2X, 3X (NOTE: It is easier to fit a smaller person in slightly larger clothing than to fit a larger person in to smaller clothing.). The clothing should be new and plain with no logos.

Other requested items include flip flops and travel size toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, etc.) as many victims want to shower after the exam as they are told not to beforehand to preserve evidence.

For more information on the clothing drive or how to combat sexual harassment and assault, call 502-607-1276/1384/1249.

You can email Charles Lay at this address: charles.r.lay.ctr@mail.mil

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