X – Domestic Violence Services

Committed to ending domestic violence in our community since 1979, Bridgeway provides a vast array of services to individuals and groups. Bridgeway operates the only two emergency safe shelters and outreach support centers in St. Charles and Lincoln Counties for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Immediate intervention is available through our Toll-Free 24-Hour Crisis Lines; St. Charles County 1.877.946.6854 / Lincoln County 1.877.462.1758.

 

SEXUAL ASSAULT SERVICES

IF YOU NEED HELP IMMEDIATELY PLEASE CALL OUR 24-HOUR TOLL-FREE CRISIS LINE. 1.877.946.6854.

Bridgeway’s Sexual Assault Center is the only rape crisis center in St. Charles County. We serve a combination of rural, suburban and urban areas within the Greater St. Louis Area and its outlying counties. Bridgeway is the only multi¬≠service agency in the region which treats substance abuse and other addictive disorders along with providing services to sexual violence and domestic abuse victims. This is important because we have identified that up to 85% of women seeking treatment for addictive disorders at any given time are or have been victims of battery and/or sexual abuse. Bridgeway provides these clients with a holistic approach to healing. Bridgeway is a member agency of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence (MCADSV). Our DV and SA programs adhere to the Service Standards and Guidelines in all program areas set forth by the coalition.

The barriers to accessing Bridgeway’s services are low. As a member agency in state and regional coalitions and through our many community partnerships, survivors are better able to find us. Our crisis line is available 24/7 for those needing assistance. All of our services are offered free of charge and the length of services is not restricted but based solely on the needs of the clients. Since Bridgeway is a multi-service agency clients have an advantage when receiving services here because we can identify and treat many of the disorders and illnesses that come from trauma related events. Our referral services to our partners within the community can assist clients in finding resources for housing, nutrition, education and employment.

The Reality of Sexual Violence

Sexual violence remains a serious, pervasive problem despite community and nationwide efforts in the last few decades to better understand and prevent it. Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey reveal that 1 in 6 women will experience a rape or attempted rape in her lifetime and that of female victims surveyed regarding their most recent experience of rape, nearly half said that they thought they or somebody close to them would be seriously harmed or killed. (Tjaden & Thoennes, US Dept of Justice, 2006). Rape and sexual assault remain the most under reported crimes in the United States. In 2006, 60% if sexual violence victims did not report the crimes to the police. Of those victims, 25% did not report because it was a private or personal matter and 10% did not report due to fear of the offender (National Crime Victimization Survey, U.S. Dept of Justice, 2006).

In Rebecca Campbell’s review of therapeutic issues for rape survivors, she states that rape destroys a victim’s sense of personal safety and threatens the assumptions survivors have about themselves and the world. She states that through the process of recovery, many victims experience guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, tension, crying spells, depression, anger, discomfort in social situations, impaired memory and concentration, exaggerated startle response and rapid mood swings. Even years after the assault, survivors are more likely to have a mental health diagnosis, alcohol or drug dependence, generalized anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Sexual violence is unique in the way that it’s experienced by victims because they are most often acquainted or in some type of relationship with the perpetrators. Low incidences of reporting should never be confused with the impact that sexual violence has on victims. Not only do victims often decide to refrain from or withdraw their report to the police, they also tend to withhold their experiences from friends and family due to shame, embarrassment or fear of rejection or disapproval. Often, counseling is their only option for working through the feelings and symptoms that are a result of being sexually victimized. A victim’s suffering can be reduced by appropriate intervention.