The gang rape of a teenage girl in Richmond, Calif. -- witnessed by dozens but reported by no one -- gives special urgency to an appeal by a well-known but perhaps tragically underused local agency.
It's the Sexual Assault Response Center and Crime Victim Service Center.
"We are trying to increase our outreach efforts to the community without increasing our costs," said JoDee Garretson, executive director.
The reasons are obvious: Money's getting tighter for all public agencies, all of them worthy.
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Garretson says sexual abuse and rape are prevalent, with one in three females and one in four males being sexually abused.
"We know there are many victims in our community who would benefit from services," she said.
Those include confidential 24-hour crisis intervention, medical and legal advocacy, support groups and counseling at no cost.
To spread the word, Garretson has sent out fliers for posting on bulletin boards at area businesses or other institutions.
The fliers promise confidentiality and include tear-off strips at the bottom that list phone numbers for the Sexual Assault Response Center (374-5391 or 888-846-RAPE) and Crime Victim Service Center (374-0130 or 888-9-VICTIM).
If you'd like a flier, call 374-5391.
There's another number to remember.
Witnesses are finally coming forward, almost two weeks after the rape of the 15-year-old California girl on the grounds of her high school after the homecoming dance.
For 2 1/2 hours she was raped by a gang of about 10 boys while another 20 or more watched and did nothing.
Arrests have been made, but this girl has been brutalized beyond the capacity of the justice system to make it right.
So if you think someone is being sexually abused or have been yourself, call one of the numbers above. Any of them.
And if you see a crime, in the name of decency, call 911.