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‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’ the name of the game at rally this month

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By Alice Du Pont

Every 1.3 minutes, it is estimated that a woman in the United States is raped, and one out of every four women will become a victim of sexual assault during her lifetime.

"It's these very statistics that we have to get out into the open," said Debra Lloyd, local coordinator for Refuge House, a counseling service and shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

April is Sexual Violence Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is "Focus On Respect." A local rally will be held April 18 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Courthouse Square in Quincy.

Lloyd said the event will include free entertainment and entertainment, giveaways and information from a variety of community partners including the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office, Tony Parker Ministeries, the Gadsden County chapter of the National Hookup of Black Women and more.

DJ Joe Bullard of 96.1 JAMZ will do a live radio remote from the event.

The aim, she said, is to connect the dots that prove respect for the individual will lower the incidents of sexual assault.

"We also want to make the public aware that through Refuge House, we can provide free and confidential services, such as face-to-face counseling, support group counseling, friends and family counseling, crisis intervention, advocacy, community education for middle and high school students, school faculty and staff, community organizations and professionals. We maintain a 24-hour hotline at 681-2111," Lloyd said.

The toll free number is 1-800-500-1119.

"I think that people are not aware that a victim of sexual assault lives with the pain for the rest of her life. Many of these people are never the same," Lloyd said. "We are there to help them."