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‘Women Who Dare’ raise funds for Comfort House

A facility designed to provide victims of sexual assault and domestic violence with a place to receive testing in a more private setting needs financial support.
‘Funding for the Comfort House, as for many non-profit agencies, is a mix of state, federal grants and private foundation grants, as well as staff and board initiated fund-raising,’ said Cheryl Hillenburg, president of the Comfort House’s board of directors. ‘Clearly, the Comfort House has been blessed by the benevolence of our community.’
The Comfort House, which opened in April 2002 as the RAPE Treatment Center, is in Milltown and serves victims from a six-county area: Harrison, Crawford, Orange, Perry, Spencer and Dubois. Since then, 260 patients have been seen. Nearly 86 percent ‘ 226 ‘ are under 18.
Grant money and other revenue is tough to obtain. For example, Monday night, the Harrison County Council voted to give the Comfort House just $12,000 of the $40,000 it requested.
The council pointed out that 29 percent of the people who used the Comfort House were from Crawford County, 28 percent from Orange and 26 percent from Harrison.
The agency, said Council chair Gary Davis, should have asked each of the three major users for funds at the same time ‘rather than pick on us because we have a riverboat and the other counties don’t.’
Councilwoman Rhonda Rhoads moved to give the agency 30 percent of the amount it needed, or $12,000. Alvin Brown seconded the motion and it passed 5-1, with Councilman Carl (Buck) Mathes opposed. Later, he said he thought the Council should have given the Comfort House half of the amount requested.
Now, to help raise the needed funds, the Comfort House is hosting two fund-raising events this year. The first is a women’s brunch on Jan. 28 featuring an actress from the Kentucky Chautauqua ‘ Kentucky Humanities Council, and the other, in April, is the second annual golf scramble.
The brunch, billed as the Women Who Dare Celebration, begins at 9 a.m. at Unity Chapel United Methodist Church south of Ramsey. Tickets are $25 each.
‘The idea for this fund-raiser came from an article in The Courier-Journal from July 31, 2005,’ Hillenburg said.
The article described the Kentucky Chautauqua, a kind of living museum that includes history, entertainment and education, and one of the 16 characters featured was Rose Will Monroe, commonly known as Rosie the Riveter. A native of Pulaski County, Ky., born in 1920, Monroe died in 1997 in Clarksville. During her lifetime, Monroe worked as a riveter in a bomber factory in Michigan during World War II. She became the home-front, female icon equivalent of GI Joe.
‘It seemed like an excellent idea to have Rosie the Riveter as the person who acted for us because she was a woman of leadership in her day,’ Hillenburg said. ‘She also is known to multiple generations. So we decided to hire the historical actress and develop a theme for our function.’
The RAPE Treatment Center started because of the brainstorming of three women in Harrison and Crawford counties ‘ Hillenburg, Pam Davis and Lola Ratterman, now the executive director of the Comfort House ‘ who believed this service was needed.
Combining that information with a Women Who Dare calendar she had that gives a brief history about women who have accomplished great things, Hillenburg said, ‘I thought it would be appropriate to call our function the Women Who Dare Celebration Brunch, because the women who have worked to see the center to fruition and the women supporting the center have dared to make a difference and provide a service that is not replicated in the state.’
Hillenburg said the services provided by Comfort House are needed, as one in three women are sexually assaulted in the United States each year. And while the majority of the victims of sexual assault are female, one in 10 men are sexually assaulted each year.
‘And that’s just the number of reported cases,’ she said.
To order tickets to the brunch or for more information, contact the Comfort House at 633-2500. Deadline for ordering tickets is Jan. 25.
There will also be a silent auction at the brunch. Items donated to date include Disney World tickets, Derby Dinner Playhouse tickets, Happy Tail Resort certificate, movie passes, and hand-made items such as purses, rugs, scarves, pottery.