Dial Help holds third annual puppy parade for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Hancock

Community members could walk around Quincy Street with their furry friends while also learning more about sexual assault and how to find help.
Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 8:54 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2023 at 9:06 PM EDT
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HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - The non-profit crisis center Dial Help invited community members to join in its third annual puppy parade on Wednesday to bring attention to Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“We’re raising sexual violence awareness by letting people know that it actually does happen up here,” said Dial Help Sexual Assault Services Coordinator Paige Setter-Hallwachs. “That’s the number one thing I’ve come across in my last few years working here. ‘No, that can’t happen up here. We’re too safe and nice of a community.’ We are. We’re a wonderful community, but sexual violence still happens here.”

The event was held downtown on Quincy Green starting at 5:30 p.m. People could sign in and get free t-shirts and receive bandanas for their furry friends. They could then walk down Quincy Street and back.

Booths were set up by Dial Help community partners such as the Portage Health Foundation, which Dial Help was acquired by earlier this month. The booths offered information on sexual assault and how to find assistance.

“Victimization such as sexual violence can be really isolating,” continued Setter-Hallwachs. “It can completely change your life. So, we’re there to help people and help them find the resources that are going to help them get to their path to healing.”

In addition to highlighting how pets can be helpful during recovery from assault, organizers say the event is a more comfortable way of addressing an uncomfortable topic.

“It’s a really difficult and hard topic to talk about,” added Setter-Hallwachs. “So being able to have the dogs here, it makes it a lot more inviting and welcoming, and I think it really helps take away some of that fear of talking about sexual violence that a lot of us have.”

Dial Help encourages anyone suffering from sexual violence to contact them and make their voice heard. To reach their crisis line, call (906)482-4357 or text (906)356-3337. To visit the Dial Help website, click here.