Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 8, 2014

Promoting sexual assault awareness

FIVCO‚ÄąFamily Fun Festival helps raise awareness in community

ASHLAND — Local American Idol contestant Jesse Cline sang at a festival promoting sexual assault awareness at the Historic Transportation Center on Saturday.

His cousin, Brandi Bayes, encouraged Cline to come out to help spread the word about sexual assault to the community.

“He believes in what we’re doing and understands the serious reality of sexual assault in our area. He said he wanted to get out more in the community and use his recognition and connections he’s made through ‘Idol’ to help spread the word,” Bayes said.

She works with Hope’s Place, which provides services to children affected by sexual assault. Through Cline’s family ties to her and her work, he has a particular understanding of how detrimental sexual assault can be in the community.

The FIVCO family event was organized by the Pathways Sexual Assault Linkage Team, which consists of several agencies dedicated to fighting sexual abuse for children and adults.

Lisa Phelps, a worker with Pathways Rape Crisis, worked closely with Morehead Pathways coordinator Diane Rodgers.

Phelps said Rodgers and her team were instrumental in helping to organize the Ashland linkage team and attain nonprofit status.

“They provided us with outlines on how they got started so we had a skeleton-model to go by,” she said.

“Why reinvent the wheel?” Rodgers said soon after, explaining she enjoyed being able to help the organization grow.

A local house band, Genuine Remedy, provided most of the musical entertainment as children and adults roamed around informational booths, made balloon animals and had caricature portraits drawn.

Cline took to the center of the room to perform shortly before 1 p.m., after which Ashland Mayor Chuck Charles read a proclamation.

“Ashland and the state of Kentucky have adopted laws to protect the rights of victims of rape and provide them certain essential services,” he said. “Let us celebrate a nation where these laws are enforced. It is up to each of us to do what we can do to adhere to the spirit of those laws and those values on which our nation was founded. Let us treat all victims of rape and sexual abuse with compassion, regardless of race, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or income.”

After that, he proclaimed March to be Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month. April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness month

“... I urge the citizens of Ashland, Ky., to reaffirm our commitment to victims’ rights and America’s value ensuring that rape victims receive our utmost respect, understanding and compassion this month and throughout the year.”

LANA BELLAMY can be reached at lbellamy@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

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