WTOC – Mary’s Place holds annual gala, “Find Your Voice” competition for sexual assault awareness


April 7, 2023 – SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. One local advocacy center is hosted a unique performance to help promote prevention.

It’s a dark topic that’s taking center stage.

“It’s empowering, it’s uplifting. It’s a different side to Mary’s Place,” said Doris L. Williams, the executive director of Mary’s Place.

Groups from across the region micing up…lip synching…to help survivors of sexual assault.

Doris Williams leads Mary’s Place, a sexual assault prevention and advocacy center in Savannah.

She got the idea to host the competition after seeing Tom Cruise’s iconic Risky Business scene.

The group…hoping these performers…help empower survivors.

“This is the side that most people don’t see. They don’t see how we get to support our survivors on their journey of healing.”

One of the groups performing is Georgia Southern University’s Sexual Assault Response Team.

Co-chair Dr. Jackie Mesenbrink says she’s performing to help destigmatize conversations about sexual assault.

“We know with survivors, a lot of times they go unheard. Lip syncing is an opportunity for us to be able to share our voice as well and share the voice of others,” said Dr. Mesenbrink.

According to the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention, over half of women and almost one in three men report experiencing sexual violence during their lifetime.

This performance coming at a time when Williams says Mary’s Place is seeing more need for services.

“We have seen an increase in the connections that we have made. We think a lot of this is to do with being out there more and being able to tell and share our services and bring awareness we are here.”

Ultimately Williams hopes that by taking a lighthearted approach to a heavy topic, she can start conversations and help survivors find their voice.

For more information about Mary’s Place visit www.marysplacega.org and follow the organization on Facebook and Instagram.

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