Grand Marshals selected for West Union Fourth of July Parade Adams County, Maysville Vet team up to save injured dog Michael S Knauff Victor P Price Success builds from the bottom up Finalists named for 2017 Fair Queen Contest William Glenn DeWine, Reader Call For Tips in Rhoden Murder Investigation MHS principal to take superintendent post Peebles Skate Park now a reality 2017-18 Fur and Feather Ambassadors named Caley Grooms is Cattlemen’s Beef Ambassador Dr. Mueller leaving Health Department’s free clinic Hourglass Quilt Barn returning to Adams County Lung, Thornburg are First Team All-District selections North Adams hosts annual Boys Basketball Camps Walk-off winner Wanda Hill George D Johnson Life can be a juggling act My favorite thing to do on the farm Wolves in Adams County! Ronald L Wedmore Three lessons from Dad Donald D Morgan Wenstrup uninjured in Virginia shooting Portman staff to hold grant funding workshop Raymond E Applegate Keeping the Peebles tradition alive Back on the hardwood, local hoops squads compete in Monday Night League Seven county athletes recognized as All-SHAC Baseball honorees Stepping to the podium Lady Hounds host Youth Volleyball Camp Senior Profile: Bryan Young Junior Deputy Boot Camps kick off in Manchester Hayes pleads “not guilty” to 109 counts Six-year-old girl finds long-lost class ring Jefferson Alumni awards annual scholarships Paul Tate Jr Marcus I Cox Jewell Gill James M Hill Jr Jeffrey S Jones Samuel A Disher Jack Sterling BREAKING NEWS: Parents face charges after son overdoses on opiate License Hikes and Tall Turkey Tales Danger under every rock Reigning Miss Ohio USA will judge 2017 Adams County Fair Queen Pageant Gordley’s hoops career will continue at Mount St. Joseph Russell C Newman Kenneth C Thurman George Uebel Summer Reading Program underway Honor Flight carries local veteran to DC When rescuers become victims Passing the torch, West Union hosts week-long basketball camp for future Dragons SENIOR PROFILE: Sara Knechtly Terry L Powell Willie Shreffler James C Fitzpatrick Senior Profile: Austin Parks Six countians named to All-SHAC Softball squad Lady Indians get summer camp season underway Memorial Day services pay tribute to local veterans WUHS Steel Band will perform at Bogart’s SSCC announces Honors Lists for spring semester Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for final nine weeks West Union Elementary announces Honor Roll for fourth nine weeks Back to State! Mom calls daughter “living proof” seat belts save lives Rent-2-Own donation means new soccer scoreboard at WUHS NAHS student selected for Engineering Summer Camp Southern Hills Athletic Conferences honors Spring Sports athletes Senior Profile: Kailyn Boyd Madison Welch receives Riffle Scholarship Junior Achievement Volunteers visit county’s seventh graders Marcella J Abbott James Ratliff Gladys Davitz Harry G Shupert Memories on Memorial Day A soldier’s story, a family’s grief Thank You for your sacrifice Seaman community honors local veterans with special tribute Former PES teacher dies in tragic accident All County Senior Citizens Day celebrated Parks signs with SSCC Soccer Senior Profile: Lexie Bunn Jessie Rodgers Memorial Day services set for county Truly our greatest generation Bertha Lashley Maia Swartz Jessie Rodgers Errors spell the end of Devils’ baseball season Senior Profile: Carry Hayslip Lady Hounds’ season ends with tourney loss to Paint Valley North Adams hosts Youth Volleyball Camp Time to get “Stroke Savvy”

Olympic athlete speaks at April 6 SAAM event

At last week’s SAAM event, from left, Brown County Victim Advocate Jessica Roush, Olympian Margaret Hoelzer, and Adams County Victim Advocate Kim Newman.

Silver medalist spotlights sexual assault awareness – 

Story and photos by Patricia Beech – 

Olympic athlete Margaret Hoelzer has a simple message for victims of sexual assault – “you are not alone”.
“I was abused as a child,” she says matter-of-factly. “But I’m a survivor, and you can learn how to be a survivor too.”
It is a deeply personal message for Hoelzer – an American swimmer, silver medalist, bronze medalist, and former world-record holder who competed in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic games.
She shared her story at the 4th Annual “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” (SAAM) event held Thursday, April 6 at the North Adams Elementary School in Seaman.
“After the 2008 Olympics I wanted to go public with my story, and I wanted to use being an athlete as a platform,” she says. “At the time I had a sports agent and he set me up with a reporter from the Associated Press and I did an interview. I honestly thought that was going to be it, but people began reaching out to me asking if I’d come speak at their events.”
Hoelzer has since become a public speaker on child abuse issues and she serves as the national spokesperson for the National Children’s Advocacy Center. She has also received the “Voice of Courage” award from the Darkness to Light child advocacy services.
For more than eight years she has traveled across America working with victim advocates to raise awareness about sexual assault.
“This isn’t a field people go into because it’s a happy, fuzzy subject,” she says. “There are amazing people who work in this field and want to give back to their communities – it sounds cheesy, but they make the world a better place.”
The annual SAAM event is sponsored by the Adams and Brown County Prosecutor offices, the Adams Crime Victim Assistance Program, and victim advocates Kim Newman and Jessica Roush. Their purpose – to raise awareness about sexual assault.

A silent auction was part of the activities at the April 6 SAAM event held at the North Adams Elementary School

“We do this so people know there’s hope in healing,” Newman says. “We get a lot more calls after events like this from people reaching out, and we’ve got disclosures many times at this event because people feel safe here, they know they’ll be believed, and there’s hope so they reach out and disclose what happened to them.”
Adams County Prosecutor, David Kelley agrees: “The SAAM event offers a refuge for victims of sexual assault by giving them a safe place where they know others understand their experience,” says Kelley. “There are people here who believe them, who care, and are here to share.”
Kelley further emphasizes the importance of sexual assault awareness in preventing a crime he says “does not always leave a visible mark.”
“People are more aware now, but when I was growing up in the 60’s you didn’t talk about it, there was no help, no victim advocates, and people’s unwillingness to believe the victim meant perpetrators were allowed to escape unpunished for decades,” he said. “In today’s society people want CSI, they want DNA evidence, but if someone touches you inappropriately, the mark they leave is almost always invisible.”
While education and awareness have made significant strides in changing people’s attitudes about sexual assault, they have also more importantly impacted how sexual assault cases are handled in our courts.
“We start by believing,” Kelley says without hesitation. “We don’t challenge the victim, we take them as they are, and we investigate the case – thoroughly. Sexual assault is a crime of power over someone else, so I try to empower victims to set the pace, and when they’re ready to be in a confrontational courtroom setting, we will bring charges. It’s a victim oriented, a victim-driven process.”
Several other community organizations and agencies also participated in the SAAM event including: FRS Counseling, Stewards of Children, the Mayerson Center from Childrens Hospital, the Adams County Regional Medical Center, ABCAP, Shawnee Mental Health, and Women Helping Women.
“We invite several different organizations so people will know what resources are available to victims,” Roush says. “It allows us to reach more people in the area.”
The event also featured Zumba and Yoga class, a silent auction with more than 40 items donated by individuals and businesses, and a raffle which offered a wide variety of gift cards and admission tickets for the Newport Aquarium, the Freedom Center, Coney Island, and a Cincinnati Reds game.
This year, the SAAM campaign motto is “Engaging New Voices”, and the focus is on involving coaches, faith leaders, parents, and bystanders in preventing sexual assault. While many people know about sexual assault and believe it is a problem, they don’t know how they can help.
Victim advocates work tirelessly to fill that gap by providing access to information that educates and helps prevent sexual assault – now and in the future.
“Every generation learns anew, and every generation builds on the one that comes before,” says Kelley. “The work we do now forms the foundation for what our children will do as adults to prevent sexual abuse in the years to come.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© The People's Defender - All rights reserved