ACCESS starts the conversation about assault

The Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau presented ACCESS a check for Reggie’s Sleep out, which is organized by ACCESS and YSS.

Julia Meehan

The Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS) helps raise awareness about assault and the resources available for victims within the Ames community and Iowa State.

ACCESS offers a variety of services for sexual assault, domestic assault, homicide and violent crimes and other similar topics. There are a lot of different services the victims service program has to offer depending on the situation of the victim, from providing housing, to rent assistance, to education advocacy, to filing protective orders, to transportation and many more.

“It is important everyone is aware there are resources available to them about if they have been victimized or if they are a survivor of violence,” said Tricia Ingram Williams, the Campus Prevention and Outreach Advocate for ACCESS. “In order to prevent perpetration, we need to start having conversations and building a culture where sexual assault is not okay.”

ACCESS is predominantly active with the campus of Iowa State. The victims service program teams up with the Greek community, the Margaret Sloss House and clubs on campus. In the past they have and continue to facilitate with Green Dot, participate in class panels, fundraise for ACCESS with the Vagina Monologues and more. 

“Building up brothers is a 15 week long program for the fraternities on campus,” said Bobby Dennis, the Male Outreach and Prevention Coordinator for ACCESS. “The purpose of this program is to facilitate conversations about sexual assault, domestic violence, victim blaming, consent and other topics.”

The month of April is dedicated to raising awareness about sexual assault. ACCESS helping create conversations about the subject. The program aims to get students to talk about assault and to create a culture to end the stigma around these discussions. The goal is to make those who were less aware about sexual assault more aware, and those who were aware even more aware.

“College can be a tricky time for students,” Williams said. “There are high levels of perpetration and victimization during a student’s years at a University.”  

ACCESS is spreading the word about assault through philanthropy work done by Greek houses, partnering with Green Dot, teaming with local coffee shops and local salons to provide those with ACCESS information and linking with Iowa State’s Police Department.

Their service program has many different teams who are experts in a certain area with a specific focus. ACCESS continues to spread their awareness with talking about assault in five counties.

“ACCESS hopes to reduce the rates of perpetration in our community and increase the resources available for victims and survivors,” Williams said. “Mainly, getting folks talking about the prevalence of sexual assault, domestic violence and homicide and violent crimes.”

ACCESS offers a unique service available to any and all. There is a 24/7, 365 crisis line. There are three specific crisis lines, which focus on each area such as sexual abuse, domestic violence and shelter services. The line is put into place to listen to anyone’s needs from talking the caller through a situation to answering simple questions. It is never too serious or too pointless, there will always be on the other end of the line.

Sexual Abuse Crisis Line 1.800.203.3488

Domestic Violence Crisis Line 1.855.983.4641

Shelter Services Crisis Line 1.855.696.2980