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Sexual assault center makes case for county funding

Staff writer

A woman in rural Marion County once woke up in the middle of the night and saw her husband standing over their bed, tightly gripping a corn knife. He threatened to cut her head off.

The woman did not want to go to the police. She decided instead to consult the Sexual Assault/ Domestic Violence Center advocate in McPherson.

The center could give the person consequence-free support. An advocate there suggested the victim move into a shelter.

The center has a shelter in Hutchinson but could also refer the victim to other shelters in closer proximity that were not affiliated with the group.

The advocate also suggested a meeting with law enforcement and arranged a meeting.

Candace Anderson Dixon, executive director of the center, met with Marion County Commissioners on Friday.

Anderson Dixon said the organization wants to become more active in Marion County.

Odessa Snyder is a full-time advocate who works out of McPherson but also serves Marion County.

Anderson Dixon asked about possible part-time office space where Snyder could keep once-a-week or once-a-month hours.

To become more aggressive in Marion County, Anderson Dixon asked the commission for $4,000 of the county budget. The county has not previously paid for center services.

The need for services was not debated by the commission.

As reported by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, incidents of domestic violence in Marion County more than doubled between 2009 and 2010, from 25 to 53 incidents.

Anderson Dixon said the down economy has contributed to that increase, with people losing employment correlating to more hostility in the home.

The center helped victims file for 36 protection-from-abuse orders.

There were five sexual assaults reported in the county, according to KBI.

Anderson Dixon said that 1 in 10 sexual assaults are ever actually reported because victims fear that they will be disregarded.

Anderson Dixon also said the numbers of assaults among teens was increasing.

Services provided by her group include a 24-hour crisis line, an emergency shelter, advocacy services, support groups, community outreach and education, a child visitation and exchange program, volunteer services coordination, and child advocacy.

Advocates also make connections with therapists to assist victims with the psychological trauma following abuse.

In other business:

  • Fuel bids were approved for the Marion County Road and Bridge Department.
    A bid from Cooperative Grain and Supply for 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 3,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline of $23,833 was accepted. The competing bid from Cardie Oil Inc. was $24,192.
  • A separate bid from Cooperative Grain and Supply for 6,550 gallons of fuel for $19,093 was also accepted. The competing bid from Cardie Oil was for $19,450.
  • Kansas Department of Transportation Railroad specialist Gary Farlow suggested two locations in Marion County for railroad crossings with flashing lights and crossbars. The first is two miles southwest of Peabody. The second is on the eastern edge of Peabody. Crawford said he would examine the locations for safety reasons.

Last modified July 2, 2012

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