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Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program is helping sexual assault survivors heal

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 8:24 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Democratic Women’s Club of Bay County presented a $2,500 check to the Gulf Coast Sexual Assault program Thursday. A donation that helps with its mission to support sexual assault victims.

“Imagine that you have been assaulted and you had to work up the courage to come in and tell someone about it. So now you have told them and your dignity is taken because your clothes have to be collected for an exam and now here, here is a paper gown and walk out,” Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program Coordinator Sonya Lowe said.

Situations like this, are what those with the Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program are working to end.

“We help women and men, who have been sexually assaulted, that could be a recent assault, or an assault from childhood. Really whatever they need to help them heal from their assault,” Lowe said.

Oftentimes, sexual assault survivors have to give up their clothing for evidence, going home in paper gowns. The program not only provides clean, new clothing to survivors.

“So they will provide them with a meal and they will provide them with transportation if needed,” Democratic Women’s Club of Bay County President Beverly Walls said.

The team will also go to court to support victims and provide other free services like therapy.

And now the program has an off-site exam room too.

“By having the off-site exam room it provides more confidentiality, more privacy and it is faster so they are able to come to our offsite exam room. So they are able to get all the services that they would be able to get at the hospital right here in our off-site office,” Lowe said.

Wall says this program is so necessary for helping victims of sexual assault heal.

“Not only do they help them emotionally, but they also support the victim. And I think for Bay County, this means that people who have this experience are supported during a time that is very difficult.” Wall said.

Wall adds she hopes the citizens in Bay County realize how important this program is.

Click here if you would like to donate to the program.

You can also drop donations off at their office building. That location is 3109 Minnesota, Panama City FL 32405.

The program also has a 24/7 helpline for sexual assault victims and survivors.

That number is 1-866-218-4738

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