Join us on February 15th at noon on our Facebook event page for our 6th annual Rising in the River Valley! Due to Covid-19, this event will be virtual. Our speakers will be, Dr. Terisa Riley, Chancellor, University of Arkansas –  Fort Smith, Penni Burns, CEO, Fort Smith Crisis Intervention Center, Pastor Paul Davis, St James Missionary Baptist Church, and Eddie Lee Herndon, President and CEO, United Way of Fort Smith Area. United Way of Fort Smith Area collaborates with the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith and the Crisis Intervention Center on this event.

Rising in the River Valley is a rally to bring awareness and education on the issues of sexual assault and domestic abuse. “Each year around Valentine’s Day people around the world rise up to bring awareness to the tragedy of sexual assault and domestic violence. Here in the River Valley at least 20% of our women will be victims of assault in their lifetimes. Rising in the River Valley is such an important initiative to highlight prevention and to let survivors know that our community is here to help”, said Eddie Lee Herndon, President, and CEO, United Way of Fort Smith Area.

Statistics from nomore.org

To end domestic violence and sexual assault, we all need to be part of the solution. Educating yourself and others, helping a friend who is being abused, speaking up, and being an engaged bystander are all examples of things you can do to help.

Talking about these issues openly will help end the shame and stigma that domestic violence and sexual assault survivors are burdened with. The next time you’re in a room with 6 people, think about this:

1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.

1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.

1 in 5 women are survivors of rape.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual violence in their lives.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.

The public is invited to attend virtually, and help “rise up” to prevent abuse.  The Crisis Intervention Center 24/7 Crisis Hotline number is 1-800-359-0056.