People who've experienced a sexual assault now have more ways to access help from an advocate as Lutheran Community Services Northwest now offers texting via its sexual assault crisis line.
The agency's sexual assault hotline is available 24/7 for phone calls at 624-7273, and now survivors can opt to text that number during business hours, 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 am to 3 pm on Friday.
"It was really about wanting to make services as accessible as possible to survivors and their support people," says Ligeia DeVleming, Lutheran's director of victim advocacy and education. "We noticed that it was sometimes easier to not pick up the phone and call, but to have that option of texting or taking a different way to get the answers that they need."
Lutheran hopes to be able to expand those texting services to nights and weekends as well, but to do so will take more financial support to pay for the licenses required for the texting service and to provide cell phones to the volunteer victim advocates who already answer calls in off hours, DeVleming says.
April is also Sexual Assault Awareness month, and Lutheran plans to put on several events for survivors and supporters. Among those, the agency will host a chalk walk outside its building at 210 W. Sprague on April 9 for people to write messages of support to survivors, and then on Tuesday, April 23, Ben & Jerry's at River Park Square will offer a benefit for Lutheran from 6 pm to 8 pm, DeVleming says.