The Sexual Assault Resource Collaborative began this year after variations of the group were discontinued in previous years.
SARC is a group of many organizations from both the Athens community and the Ohio University campus.
“The main purpose is to bring together the campus on issues that address sexual violence on and off campus,” delfin bautista, the director of the LGBT Center, said. bautista uses they/them pronouns and the lowercase spelling of their name.
A few years ago, the Coordinated Community Response Team was an organization with the same goals as SARC. When the Survivor Advocacy Program started, however, CCRT was discontinued.
The group members consider themselves to be a task force to combine and publicize resources their members provide, bautista said.
“I think it’s a good example of campus and community coming together,” bautista said.
The group wants to act as a "unified front" to promote prevention, encourage education and coordinate resources, according to a joint press release.
“Sexual Violence is too prevalent in our society,” Keller Blackburn, Athens County prosecutor, said in the press release. "Perpetrators need to understand that as a community we are united to end the violence. We all have a responsibility to change this culture that has existed for far too long."
bautista said the group is a “diverse collective” of organizations. People cannot join SARC itself; they can join one of the many organizations that are involved.
The Athens Police Department is one of the the groups involved with SARC.
APD Chief Tom Pyle said APD is currently collaborating and participating in the group’s monthly meetings.
“It is our sincere hope that collaboration will improve our respective responses to incidents of sexual assault,” Pyle said in an email.
According to a press release, OU groups involved in SARC include the LGBT Center, the Women’s Center, the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance and several others. Other organizations from the Athens area that have expressed interest in SARC include SAP, Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program, APD, the OU Police Department, the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office and several others.
The group was not created to act as direct source for people experiencing sexual violence. It is meant for the people of OU and Athens to know the resources available to them.
If someone wants to seek resources, they can contact one of the many groups involved in SARC.