Crisis counselor Kaela Rubie speaks on the intersection of diversity and sexual assault

The Intersection of Diversity and Sexual Assault presentation was held November 20 via Zoom by the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia. Kaela Rubie, who is a crisis counselor and victim associate, was the featured speaker.

SAC’s main mission is to focus on the victims’ healing process and foster strong relationships with all agencies involved with sexual assault. They offer free confidential services such as on-site medical exams, one-on-one crisis intervention, and a 24 hour crisis hotline at (706) 802-0580. The organization serves all survivors regardless of age, race, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Sexual assault and sexual violence are defined as any unwanted, forced or coerced sexual contact without consent. It can range from inappropriate touching to penetration.

“The best way to be supportive is to believe the victim and make sure they know it’s not their fault,” said Rubie.

Often victims go through a cycle of self-blame which can be heightened if they suffer from mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

“Take a moment to think about your various identities,” said Rubie, “How does your race, socio-economic status, sexuality and gender identity play a part in the way you could react to sexual abuse and trauma?”

The seminar touched on how different cultures and communities are affected by sexual assault, such as how Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual violence than the general population. One in eight trans people of color experience sexual violence. 40-60% of black women report being subjugated or coerced into sexual contact by age eight.

via Sexual Assault Center of North West Georgia

SAC brings to light the vast intersection between socioeconomic privilege and sexual abuse. Rape victims face an estimated lifetime cost of $122,461 after legal proceedings and medical care after their trauma. This leaves low-income communities burdened the most by sexual abuse and most in need of support.

Students looking for more resources on sexual assault are encouraged to check out SAC’s website and GHC’s free counseling services.