By Michelle Talsma Everson
April is National Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month, a devastating topic that impacts all of us. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women in the United States have experienced completed or attempted rape during their lifetime; and nationwide, 81% of women reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime. To help local victims of sexual assault in their recovery, North Phoenix business owner and sexual assault survivor Heidi Koffman is launching a new creative healing support group for adult women survivors of sexual assault.
“Six years ago, after I was sexually assaulted, the one thing I needed was a creative outlet for healing and a support group dedicated to women survivors of sexual assault,” Koffman, who owns Craft Nights, a North 32nd arts and crafts studio, explains. “I couldn’t find one easily. I’m hoping to change that with the creation of Art in the Afternoon, a support group for adult women healing from sexual assault. We meet monthly so we don’t feel alone and have an opportunity to heal from trauma through art and creativity.”
The first meeting of Art in the Afternoon will take place on Sunday, April 24 from 3-5:30 p.m., and all third Sundays of the month after the initial date. (It does not initially take place on the third Sunday of April due to the Easter holiday. The May date is May 22, and so forth.) The new monthly event takes place at Grounded 32, located at 13651 N. 32nd Street. The event is free to participate, but donations are welcome.
Koffman is partnering with two local nonprofits to help propel the monthly event: Grounded 32, which provides the meeting space, and the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, which will be providing pamphlets and resources for additional help survivors may need. Craft Nights and Grounded 32 will be providing the art supplies for each monthly project.
To RSVP or learn more about this event, visit grounded32.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have experienced sexual assault or domestic violence, help is available. Speak with someone immediately by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TTY) or by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Locally, victims can contact the Arizona Sexual and Domestic Violence Helpline at 602-279-2980 or via SMS text message at 520-720-3383 Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. with extended hours on Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Of course, if in doubt, call 9-1-1. Visit acesdv.org/get-help-now for info and local resources.