I am amazed at the way this community and our hospital recognize and support the work that we do.
As I begin my retirement from Sexual Assault Services (SAS) and Bronson, I have been reflecting on the past 20 years in this career. SAS and this community have traveled a long journey together.
SAS was a brand new grant-funded department of Battle Creek Health System (now known as Bronson Battle Creek) in 1996 when I first heard about it at a community summit on sexual assault. The next year I was hired as the first counselor at SAS—and the following year, I became the second program coordinator. That position has since evolved to the SAS system manager of the grant-funded department of Bronson Healthcare. In collaboration with many others, we now serve three counties in the Bronson service area.
I am amazed at the way this community and our hospital recognize and support the work that we do. We have been able to expand to provide comprehensive services to survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse. We have engaged with others to educate and raise awareness of sexual violence and prevention. And, we have worked closely with our multi-disciplinary partners to assist victims and hold offenders account-able.
One of the greatest satisfactions has been my work directly with survivors. As an advocate, I have been present in the most difficult times during SANE exams. I have been a sup-port person during court proceedings that resulted in all types of outcomes and have counseled and worked with clients including children, women, men, couples, families and parents of child victims. My work with survivors has changed me as a person, and I believe for the better.
SAS as an organization is embarking on a brand new journey. This is a wonderful (though anxious) opportunity for all of us. The unknown for me, as I refocus my life to different activities, is exciting and scary. The unknown for SAS and my successor, Dannielle Kostrab, is certainly beginning with both anticipation and fear. As I look back and remember where we started, I am confident that the expert, committed, dynamic staff of SAS will use this opportunity for much more good work in the future.