Advertisement

STAR


Sexual assault is an intensely personal crime, and it is a national health crisis that affects men, women, and children of all races and classes. STAR is “here to make sure survivors know regardless of what type of sexual trauma they’ve had, we are here to support them in that. Our goal is to make sure everyone who has been touched by sexual trauma, even parents and friends, feels supported,” Kirsten Raby, Capital Area Regional Director of STAR, declares. 

The history of STAR goes back to 1975, when a group of community members saw a need for services for survivors of rape. They connected with the District Attorney’s Office and created the Rape Crisis Center, which helped survivors for more than 30 years. When Hillar Moore became D.A., Racheal Hebert, the Crisis Center volunteer coordinator, approached him and presented the idea that the Center could accomplish more if they separated from the D.A. Office. He agreed and gave her the Crisis Center budget, the seed money to begin STAR, which stands for Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response.  Hebert developed STAR in 2011 and began with a staff of three. Today, STAR is active in three cities—New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria—and employs 30 people. 

STAR helps sexual trauma survivors by offering crisis counseling, a 24/7 hotline, 24/7 hospital advocacy, advocacy groups, and legal support. To advocate for survivors means to publicly support them, wherever needed. STAR opens their doors to survivors to talk in groups like the Teen Trauma Group or for private counseling at no cost.

Survivors mostly come to STAR through the hotline. When a person calls in, a STAR employee or volunteer works through that crisis moment with the survivor and offers resources. “It all depends on what they want. We are about empowerment for what they want their decisions to be. If they want to report it, we guide them. If they don’t, we connect them to other resources. Through an advocacy appointment, an advocate will work through their needs. A person can’t focus on the trauma that they’re feeling until they’ve met their immediate needs. We want to meet those first and focus on healing after,” Raby explains. Hotline callers may have experienced trauma at any time in their lives. 

On the other hand, a survivor at the hospital is in an immediate situation, having experienced the trauma that day or two days before. STAR works with all area hospitals, and each hospital has a sexual assault protocol that they follow. Raby explains the process, “Once a survivor presents at a hospital (usually through the ER), the nursing staff will talk with the survivor and offer to have us there, then they call our hotline to request an advocate. The hotline volunteer then contacts a staff member who will notify the Part-Time Medical Advocate (PTMA) to let them know where to go and who to meet with.” The PTMA works with the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and supports the survivor. “Everything we do is about empowering survivors. Their rights to No’s and decisions have been taken away, so we want to give them those decisions back,” says Raby.

STAR extends beyond their walls and the hospitals. Through Community Education, STAR works to create change through trainings and workshops on healthy sexuality, dynamics of sexual violence, and sexual trauma. The Community Education department educates parents and students on what sexual and dating violence are so they can recognize signs and take steps to prevent them. STAR also goes into schools and teaches about dating, healthy relationships, consent, and good communication. 

STAR continues to expand into new spaces to impact communities for change. One goal is to end the shame that accompanies sexual violence by “bringing it all into the open,” according to Raby. “Everything we do is in a way to destigmatize it.” One unique way to combat shame is through their Truth Out Loud grant, which will empower survivors to tell their stories.  

Raby says that the first thing you can do to support survivors is to “start by believing them. Survivors go through a lot when they report a sexual assault. Listen to them.” ■

Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

01 Apr 2018


By Joy Holden

Recent Articles more articles

Slowing Down: Reclaiming Sanity

in Health and Wellness, Family Life, Cheryl Brodnax

So, I have a problem with over-commitment. It seems that any time there is white space on my calendar, I find some excuse to fill it. My husband often points out that I never just sit. What? Who doesn’t sit?

E-Cigarettes and Vaping: A Dangerous Epidemic

in Sponsored Content

Vaping is a dangerous new epidemic that has been sweeping the country, especially in teens and young adults, and now, the Center for Disease Control is investigating if vaping is the cause of over 200 cases of severe lung disease as well as two death

Breastfeeding Journey. Is This It?

in Amelia Laprairie

When Andie was born, I set a breastfeeding goal of one year. I was determined to make it to that and we overcame many obstacles and pushed through to be sure that this journey continued.

How Do I Respond to Comments from Kids About My Body?

in Mari Walker

As I established in Suit Up, Mama, I’m living my life in a fat body. It’s not good or bad, it just is. I certainly wish my body were smaller sometimes, and I do exercise and try to be healthy. But I also accept it for what it is: my body that allows

Featured Listings more listings

Catholic High School

in Private Schools

Catholic High's holistic approach to education builds a community spirit that is characterized by Christian values, an orderly and disciplined atmosphere, a personal approach to education and a commitment to academic excellence.

DEFY

DEFY

in Party Venues

Each DEFY party package comes with a party room setup and cleanup, jump time, socks, paper products, party host, and 60 minutes of party room time, so you and your birthday boy or girl can have the best party ever. We also have the options of Basic,

Skate Galaxy

Skate Galaxy

in Party Venues

Five packages to choose from; roller skating; laser tag; rockwall climbing; 2-3 hour private party room; pitchers of soft drinks; pizza: pepperoni, sausage, or cheese; Bluebell Ice Cream cups; skate theme plates, cups, napkins; cake knife; Skate Gala

The Ambrosia Bakery

The Ambrosia Bakery

in Party Bakery

Cookies, Cakes, Cupcakes, & Petit Fours

Advertisement
Newsletter