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  • Writer's pictureAbby Fowler

Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault: A Project for Thailand

Originally published August 4, 2022

From July 27th to August 2nd, we welcomed a delegation from Thailand to Eastern Iowa for a program titled “Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault.” This program aimed to teach the participants about navigating the aftermath of violent crime, the importance of a victim-centered approach, the impact of violent crime on tourism, and how to maintain the integrity of victims during media inquiries. Participants had diverse professional backgrounds, ranging from the police and anti-trafficking sectors to the tourism sector.

The day after their arrival, the delegation met with Mira Yusef and Lata D’Mello of Monsoon Asians and Pacific Islanders in Solidarity. Monsoon is an organization that serves victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities of Iowa and aims to end all forms of gender-based violence and build healthy communities. That evening, half of the delegation enjoyed an Iowa Table Dinner with Don and Suzanne Kirchner.

Meeting at RVAP.

On the 29th, the delegation had a panel discussion with the Iowa City Police Department and Johnson County Attorney. The panel was comprised of Detective Jenny Clarahan, ICPD detective, Ann Thompson, ICPD Victim Services Coordinator, and Janet Lyness, Johnson County Attorney. This day they also met with Adam Robinson, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and performance coach, and Venissa White of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP).

The next day, the delegation went on a cultural excursion trip to Kalona Historical Village. There, they enjoyed guided tours of the Amish Dairy Goat Farm and the Kalona Buggy Shop, as well as a home cooked family style meal at a Mennonite home. In the evening, the delegation had the opportunity to enjoy local events hosted by the City of Iowa City and the Summer of the Arts program.

Iowa Table Dinner with Cecelia Roudabush.

On the 31st, the delegation had the day open to explore the University of Iowa campus and downtown Iowa City. Half of the delegation enjoyed an Iowa Table Dinner with Cecelia Roudabush in the evening.

Their final full day in Eastern Iowa began with a meeting with Katy Rasmussen of the Johnson County Sexual Assault Response Team. After lunch, the delegation hit the road to Cedar Rapids to meet with Melody Kosobucki, Iowa Associate Program Director at Riverview Center, a sexual abuse advocacy agency. Their evening was free to enjoy Iowa City one last time before their flight the next morning.

“The meetings were great, we met with excellent professionals and everybody had a good time, visiting the Amish and Mennonite Community, home hospitality and exploring the area around the hotel,” said Donna Kovacheva, liaison. “Special thanks to all the volunteers who met with us. It was a unique opportunity to meet and speak with different people. The visitors were active participants in all meetings, asked a lot of questions, and appreciated everything they saw.”

Thank you to Mira Yusef, Lata D’Mello, Adam Robinson, Detective Jenny Clarahan, Ann Thompson, Janet Lyness, Katy Rasmussen, and Melody Kosobucki for your participation in this program. We would also like to thank our volunteers Don and Suzanne Kirchner, Pamela Terrill, Amanda Potterfield, Jeanne Stoakes, and Cecelia Roudabush for making this delegation’s time in Eastern Iowa special!

Keep an eye on our blog and social media to get involved in future delegations!


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