Statistics show that sexual assault and abuse continues to be a grave concern in Sullivan County. Our law enforcement agencies along with District Attorney Jim Farrell have taken these crimes very seriously.
Sexual assault is a disgusting crime to comprehend. Lives of victims and their families are literally destroyed when such a humiliating offense occurs.
In Sullivan County one organization has always been there to assist and comfort those victims who have undergone such a traumatic and dreadful experience, RISE (Rape Intervention Services and Education). This highly respected program of intervention and counseling has been there time and time again to help victims of these violent and humiliating crimes.
April is a month dedicated to raising awareness of sexual violence and increasing the public’s understanding. It also provides opportunities for our community to be directly involved in supporting victims and survivors, their families, and organizations that provide crisis intervention throughout the year.
The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event to raise funds for the Rape Intervention Services and Education (RISE) program of Sullivan County, administered by Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC), is taking place on Saturday April 22, 2017 at the Sullivan County Government Center. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the walk kicks-off at 10 AM. Everyone is urged to attend.
How To Register —
All walkers must register for the event. Registration will be completed on the day of the event. You can download the form to pre-fill it and bring with you to the event, or you can receive and fill it out once you arrive. Registration is $10.
Participants, including Men, are encouraged to wear any …type of women’s footwear – preferably in a shade of red – while participating in the walk.
Raising Money & Donating to the Cause —
Walkers can raise money by securing pledges. Pledge forms are available online at: www.crmcny.org/rise-walk, and registrants may also set up personal online fundraising page at https://www.crowdrise.com/rise-crmc-walk-a-mile-in-her-shoes1 and click “Fundraise for this campaign”
You can also donate directly to the cause by visiting: https://www.crowdrise.com/rise-crmc-walk-a-mile-in-her-shoes1
I cannot begin to tell you how vital it is for all of us to support programs like RISE. As many of you are aware, the past several years has been one of the most difficult, tragic, and challenging chapters in my life.
My 62-year-old severely and profoundly functionally and developmentally disabled sister Paula Liblick was raped while living in a New York State run group home. Horrendous black and blue marks were noticed on her thighs when a caretaker at her day program was changing her diaper. Blood was also visible in her diaper.
Paula was rushed to a rape unit in Orange County and that is where women from an organization such as RISE assisted and comforted the two of us.
I continually relive the day when I lifted Paula as they conducted the extensive examination. With tears in our eyes, the worst of our fears materialized. The exam proved trauma in several places in her vagina. It was discovered that Paula was sexually assaulted more than once.
I thank God people were there to comfort me.
Paula died in April of 2011 after becoming severely ill from complications of strongyloides, a parasite native to the Caribbean, which I am certain was the result of the rape.
Five employees from the Hudson Valley group home were fired and the facility has since closed down. No one was ever arrested for the sexual assaults because there were no video cameras or ways to track visitors or intruders. All the employees were caught in a pack of lies.
When it comes to protecting our most vulnerable New York State continually looks the other way. Their actions relating to Paula’s sexual assaults have been reprehensible.
As many of you know, I have been on a mission to make certain our most vulnerable are protected.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, who is Chair of the Assembly’s Mental Health Committee, has sponsored legislation requiring the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPDD) to place video cameras at the entrances and exits of all its facilities as a way to prevent abuse and protect both patients and staff.
“Paula’s Law” has bipartisan support in both the Assembly and Senate but has yet to move out of committees for a vote.
State buildings, hospitals, convenient stores and everywhere we look there are cameras for protection, so why not group homes? Cameras are cheap and will save money in the long run. It is not even a privacy issue.
I share my story with you about Paula because there is a need for all of us to support RISE and their efforts in assisting those who have been sexually assaulted.
For more information on RISE please visit http://www.crmcny.org/services/rise or call 845-794-3300, ext 2440, and donate all you can.
The event will include raffles, prizes and refreshments throughout the day, and all funds raised will go directly to benefit the RISE Program of Sullivan County.
Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.