The Crisis Center, also known as Rape and Suicide Crisis of Southeast Texas, has formed a task force regarding sexual assaults during disasters.

“After Hurricane Ike, we found that there had been several sexual assaults,” said the center’s Cindy Fertitta. “Many people felt not comfortable making reports, so we actually sent out a needs assessment [survey] in Orange County to address this issue.”

The survey covered topics, in question form, such as the definition of sexual violence, risk factors in the community before, during and after disasters; and who in the community is most at risk to become a victim.

The task force will give a presentation on sexual violence prevention in disasters from 10 to 11:30 a.m. May 11 in the Southeast Regional Planning Commission’s Nagel Room, 2210 Eastex Frwy. in Beaumont.

Research shows that one in four girls and one in eight boys will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, but only 20 percent of those will report it, Fertitta said.

“Our job is to get them to law enforcement, make sure they make that report and give them the services they need,” she said.

“We want to make sure that sexual violence is addressed in emergency management meetings, and it has been. We want to make sure that we know that emotional recovery and physical recovery [are addressed]. We’re going to devise a brochure of what to do, where to report abuse and where to feel safe.”
Southeast Texas’ “sister evacuation cities” will also be provided the brochures, she said.

“The shelters are going to have that same information so [evacuees] know that, no matter where they go, they can make those reports,” she said.

The Crisis Center also provides services for crisis intervention, medical and legal accompaniment and information, and advocates for community education and public speaking.

For more information, call the Rape and Suicide Crisis 24-hour hotline at 835-3355, or log-on to