Outer Banks Hotline launches ‘Community for Hope’ sexual assault awareness campaign

Published 6:57 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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By Stephanie Baker, Associate Director, Outer Banks Hotline

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every 68 seconds a person is sexually assaulted in the United States and every nine minutes, that person is a child. In an effort to bring the issues of safe relationships, interpersonal violence and sexual assault to light in Dare County, Outer Banks Hotline has developed its inaugural month-long awareness campaign: “Community for Hope.” Outer Banks Hotline is a 501.c.3 nonprofit organization and is Dare County’s only interpersonal violence (domestic abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking) crisis intervention and prevention agency.

On March 6, 2023, the Dare County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to proclaim April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Dare County. The proclamation followed a presentation by Outer Banks Hotline executive director Bronwyn Thornton and associate director Stephanie Baker. “Outer Banks Hotline hopes to bring greater awareness of the issue of sexual assault and how it affects our community,” said Thornton. “We strive to educate the public on ways to support survivors of sexual assault, and to help prevent cases from escalating by sharing important information regarding physical boundaries, reporting, and the various ways in which someone may be assaulted.”

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April is prom time for high school students, and starts the busy season with its better weather, outdoor activities and entertainment, and influx of tourists. Outer Banks Hotline believes it is important to arm community members and visitors alike with the information and skills they need to make good choices during this time and throughout the year to protect themselves and others. Hotline is working with the local high schools/secondary schools to help educate students and faculty alike during the month of April. Additionally, Hotline is working with businesses, churches, clubs and more to help disseminate information in an effort to help reduce the number of cases of sexual assault in Dare County.

In addition to raising general awareness, Hotline has developed a fundraising campaign called “100 FOR HOPE,” which is a “team” fundraising campaign. A team may be just one person and is not limited to a number, so could be a team of 1, 10, 25 or 500. Each team has a goal to raise $100 per team. A total of 100 teams from Corolla to Hatteras is the 2023 goal, which will raise a minimum of $10,000 if each team was to only raise $100.

“We are inviting county agencies, local businesses, church groups, civic clubs and the community at large to participate in this awareness campaign and/or the 100 for Hope Fundraiser. All monies raised will help support Outer Banks Hotline’s mission to Promote a Safe and Compassionate Community,” said Thornton. Funds will support Hotline’s client services, safe-house costs and outreach programs.

On Saturday, April 1, Hotline was a guest of The OBXWay (a local nonprofit that has created a hiking trail from Kill Devil Hills to Carova) at Hurricane Mo’s in Kitty Hawk with information on the campaign, packets for the fundraiser and educational materials regarding sexual assault. This event raised funds for The OBXWay and will kick-off the month-long Hotline campaign.

On Saturday, April 29 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, there will be a commemoration of the victims and survivors of sexual assault and a celebration of the efforts made by the community to support the Community for Hope campaign. This event, “Ribbon on the Ridge,” is open to the public. There will be free lunch for all who registered and raised money for 100 for Hope (all others will have the opportunity to purchase lunch) and music.

Kellogg Supply Company/The Cottage Shop and Outer Banks Blue are the lead sponsors (Empowerment Sponsors) of the Community for Hope campaign. The campaign is also supported by Healing Sponsors: Outer Banks Health, Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and Surf Pediatrics & Medicine; and Caring Sponsors: Carolina Designs Realty, Sun Realty and TowneBank. Sponsorship opportunities are still available, and teams are strongly encouraged.

For more information regarding the Community for Hope campaign or the 100 for Hope fundraiser, sexual assault or information about Outer Banks Hotline, contact Stephanie at Outer Banks Hotline at 252-473-5121 or via email at stephanie@obhotline.org.