By Nyesha Stone
Aurora Sinai Medical Center expanded their services and created an area for victims of sexual assault. Director of Aurora’s Healing and Advocacy Services Sharain Horn said Aurora’s Healing and Advocacy Center has been in the works for two years.
The Healing and Advocacy’s doors opened in July, and to let the community know what’s now available they held an opening celebration in their new center at noon at 945 N. 12th St.
This space provides an area that’s serene and quiet, according to Horn, which is a completely different feel from the emergency room where victims had to be serviced before the new center.
It took seven to eight months for the modeling and construction of the space and Horn knows it was a need in the community.
This is Milwaukee’s first full-service program for survivors of sexual and physical violence, according to their brochure.
Before the center, the space was used as storage, but with the funds of Aurora Health Care the space was transformed into a safe haven.
Horn and her team wrote a grant to the Department of Justice in hopes of receiving money to afford the new positions that the Healing and Advocacy center needed. In a very detailed proposal, they stated what the grant money would be used for.
They were eventually granted $741,000 to put towards positions like keeping their 24/7 hotline running. They’ve always had a hotline but what it didn’t have was an actual person on the other side of the phone to service the callers at any hour.
One night the center’s hotline received a call from an older woman who had be sexually assaulted in the past. This was the woman’s first time telling someone she was assaulted and after receiving help she then filed a police report.
“If we didn’t have this hotline who would she have called?” asked Horn.
Horn feels blessed to have the chance of impacting lives in a positive way because she “knows the trauma is affecting” the patients, which is why her and her team put in the effort to get the right resources for the center.
The center helps victims as much as the victims wants to be helped. The new center offers a variety of resources: immediate intervention services, long term services and community services. Each service offers a multitude of things to hopefully improve the lives of their patients.
Victims still begin in the ER to be checked for injuries and then they’re taken to the center into the consultant room—the police can use this room for investigations. If there is a need for an investigation, then the patient may be asked to remove some of their clothing for evidence.
There’s a spa-like shower in the bathroom for the patients to use, if they’d like. New clothes will be provided for the patient if clothing items are taken or if their clothes are soiled— the center has clothes accessible for any patient.
Aurora Health Care has ten other locations that provide some of these services. Not all healing centers are open 24/7 so they suggest calling ahead of time.
Aurora Healing Center Hotline can be reached at 414-219-5555.