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Michigan State Police Iron Mountain Post brings awareness to sexual assault through ‘Purses with a Purpose’

Purses or bags filled with personal care items, can be dropped of at the MSP Iron Mountain Post, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time, throughout the month of April.
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 3:10 PM EDT
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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“Every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted; Every nine minutes that victim is a child,” said Trooper Geno Basanese, with the Michigan State Police Iron Mountain Post.

Trooper Basanese says that’s why the MSP Women’s leading change group is bringing awareness to sexual assault this month, through ‘Purses with a Purpose.’

The group is asking for purses or bags filled with personal care items. Donations can be dropped off at the Michigan State Police Iron Mountain Post, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time, throughout the month of April. MSP will then donate those to the Caring House in Iron Mountain.

Cheryl O’Neil, the director of the Caring House says this gesture shows survivors they are supported.

“So many times, when someone has gone through something with sexual assault, they feel like they will not be understood, they feel it’s their fault, they feel like nobody cares, and this give the message the community cares,” she said.

O’Neil says the demand is high for personal care items, because when survivors come in, most times, they only have the clothes on their back.

“We have items here that they have, but to have something personal, this is theirs,” added O’Neil.

She says this outreach is also bridging a gap between survivors and law enforcement.

“There’s so much with law enforcement, and their fears of law enforcement, this just shows law enforcement cares,” she explained.

O’Neil wants to let survivors know there is always confidential help and healing programs available through the Caring House.

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