YWCA Mohawk Valley (YWCA MV) held their biannual Take Back the Night on April 20 in observance of both Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM). YWCA MV’s efforts and initiatives during April are made possible by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

“This event is a night of power and empowerment for survivors,” said YWCA MV CEO Dianne Stancato. “We aim to give people affected by sexual assault and child abuse a space to feel connected and build community. These are difficult topics to talk about, however sharing with others who have experienced trauma helps survivors move forward toward healing.”

Take Back the Night is a survivor-centered event dedicated to creating a comfortable, confidential space for stories to be shared and heard. The evening included a brief rally discussing the impact of sexual violence and child abuse in the Mohawk Valley, a march on campus at Herkimer College, a speak-out for survivors to share their stories, and a candlelight vigil to honor those affected.

“Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is proud to sponsor Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month at YWCA Mohawk Valley,” said Excellus BCBS Regional President Eve Van de Wal. “These issues impact our entire community, and we are proud to work together with YWCA Mohawk Valley to help protect children and adults from violence and abuse, as well as support them in healing from the trauma of violence and sexual assault.”

Between January 1 and March 31 of this year, YWCA MV staff served 22 survivors of sexual violence with 54 instances of service in Oneida County. At the Herkimer County Child Advocacy Center (CAC), operated by YWCA MV, the agency served 127 individual clients. Through partnership with the Oneida County CAC, YWCA MV provided child abuse crisis services for 489 clients.

April has been nationally recognized as CAPM since 1982 and SAAM since 2001. Since then, the month has helped providers across the country bring critical attention to both child abuse and sexual violence, show survivors that they are not alone, and unite communities in a common cause to stop the violence.

YWCA MV’s free, confidential, 24-hour services include transitional and rapid re-housing programs, case management, one-on-one counseling, support groups, referrals, and advocacy and accompaniment through court, law enforcement, and medical proceedings.

YWCA MV is available for anyone experiencing domestic and/or sexual violence via our free and confidential 24-hour hotline services. Visit ywcamv.org/Chat to reach an advocate directly through our private, secure server. In Oneida County, call or text 315.797.7740 for domestic and sexual violence crisis services. In Herkimer County, call 315.866.4120 for child advocacy and adult sexual violence crisis services. For more information about YWCA MV, visit ywcamv.org.


About YWCA Mohawk Valley
YWCA Mohawk Valley is a nonsectarian organization engaged in the mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. In 2022, YWCA MV provided nearly 70,000 instances of service to individuals in Herkimer and Oneida Counties via such programs as domestic and sexual violence crisis services, violence prevention education, residential services for homeless women and children, and emergency shelters and transitional housing for individuals escaping violence. YWCA MV offers free and confidential help 24/7. In Oneida County, call or text 315.797.7740 for domestic and sexual violence crisis services. In Herkimer County, call 315.866.4120 for child advocacy and sexual violence crisis services. Visit ywcamv.org/Chat anytime to directly reach an advocate through a private chat server. More information about YWCA MV can be found by visiting ywcamv.org or by contacting Allison Flanagan at aflanagan@ywcamv.org or 315.732.2159 ext. 245.

YWCA MV receives funding support from the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc. and The Women’s Fund of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc.

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