Sexual Assault Survivor Giving Back to Community

Many Nashville non-profits are counting on virtual fundraisers to keep their work going, like this weekend's Mad Hatter. The event benefits the Sexual Assault Center, which for 40 years has helped men, women and children get the life-changing counseling they need. Derrick McKissack is one of them.

Minors accounting for unprecedented amount of calls to National Sexual Assault Hotline

For the first time, minors are making up half of the victims receiving help from the National Sexual Assault Hotline. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), this is directly related to COVID-19.

It Happens: Sexual Assault Awareness in the LGBT+ Community

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), this year will mark the 19th anniversary of the official declaration of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We spoke with Alexandra Damiano, NCC, a Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minority Outreach Coordinator with the Sexual Assault Center (S.A.C.) in Nashville, to get some insight on sexual assault in the LGBT+ community and resources available to help victims. She says there are three things we should all know about sexual assault and the LGBT+ community.


Tennessee Voices: A conversation with Rachel Freeman


Hablando y Aprendiendo Sobre Violencia Sexual . Live on Nashville Noticias (Spanish)


Are shelter-at-home orders keeping domestic violence victims from seeking help?

Mid-state domestic and sexual assault therapist worries a lot of abuse may be going unreported thanks to shelter-at-home.


Nashville Noticias Facebook Live / Nashville Mayor Conference - WebEx with Fabian Bedne in Spanish (1:00:03)


Advocates, officials worry about quarantine domestic abuse

Advocates and government officials are warning of a spike in domestic abuse as people across the state are largely confined to their homes and typical reporters, like teachers, don’t have their eyes on kids.

Sexual Assault Center Sees Succes in SAFE Clinic: Opens Healing Garden

The Sexual Assault Center shared its new Healing Garden on Thursday, it was funded by a $4,000 grant from the Nashville Predators Foundation, with some extra love from Nate Barker with Horticultual Solutions and 

Sexual Assault Center Cases Nearly Double Last Year

Sexual Assault Center cases nearly double since last year

Vanderbilt rape case  brought  college sexual assault 'to the forefront' 

“These terrible things happen, and we've been intimately privy to the details through the Vanderbilt rape case," said Rachel Freeman, president of the Nashville Sexual Assault Center. “That has been really sad and really hard to hear

“These terrible things happen, and we've been intimately privy to the details through the Vanderbilt rape case," said Rachel Freeman, president of the Nashville Sexual Assault Center. “That has been really sad and really hard to hear.

New sexual assault help clinic opens in Nashville 

The SAFE Clinic is located at 101 French Landing Drive, in the MetroCenter area. 

Nashville's First Dedicated Clinic For Sexual Assault Forensic Exams To Open In June

For four decades, the sexual assault center has helped more than 25,000 people recover from sexual violence and assault. Now, they are opening a new, SAFE clinic

Ribbon cutting held for the SAFE Clinic

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the timing couldn’t be more profound. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday for Nashville’s first stand-alone rape exam clinic

Exclusive tour of Nashville's first rape exam clinic

On June 5th Nashville's very first stand-alone rape exam clinic, built exclusively for victims of sexual assault, opens to the public.

Civility Tennessee

Civility Tennessee: Watch and join a live discussion on Facebook with Sexual Assault Center CEO Rachel Freeman, the head of AMEND for the YWCA Shan Foster and Tennessean Opinion and Engagement Editor David Plazas about sexual assault, #MeTooand toxic masculinity.

Rachel Freeman of the Sexual Assault Center: FACES of Nashville

While conversation is moving us in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to ending sexual assault. Rachel Freeman has been dedicating her services to this work at the Sexual Assault Center (SAC) for 17 years, and three months ago, she moved into her new role as President & CEO. For nearly a decade, Rachel has helped to foster safe spaces for therapy and counseling for children and teens who have been sexually abused or raped, adults who were abused as children, adult rape survivors and non-offending caregivers, family members and loved ones of those who have been victimized by sexual violence — with a focus on outreach to the Latin, African-American and LGBTQ+ communities.

Opinion: How the Sexual Assault Center works to end sexual abuse and how you can help

For 40 years, the Sexual Assault Center has served and been a voice for survivors of sexual assault and sexual violence. Throughout April, Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we have invited the community to be part of Nashville’s collective voice to end this silent epidemic.

Church Street bars participate in Sexual Assault Center prevention initiative

A new initiative of the Sexual Assault Center, 'Safe Bar' was developed to train local bars and restaurants in raising awareness about alcohol’s role in sexual assault, as well to engage bar owners and staff in bystander intervention. The organization intends to increase its effort to partner with the community in order to prevent sexual violence in Middle Tennessee.

Sexual predators stalk your child in 'safe' spaces

Sharon Travis speaks to protecting your children from sexual predators. 

Campus rapes reported to police decrease in Tennessee

“It’s really hard to know when the numbers go up or down because rape is under-reported,” said Katie Davis with the Sexual Assault Center. “There’s a lot of stigma related to sexual assault, which can cause barriers and fear related to reporting.”

Advocates Fight To Teach Sexual Assault Prevention In Schools

"As a state, we have an obligation to take care of our children. I think by educating them we're giving them the tools they need. We're empowering to speak out when these issues happen," said Heather Meshell, The Sexual Assault Center. 

Vince Gill shares story of sexual assault during Nashville performance

Heather Meshell from the Sexual Assault Center responds to Vince Gill's disclosure and the announcement of his new song, "Forever Changed". Meshell speaks about how sexual assault affects 1 in 6 boys and how men can also be victims of sexual violence. 

Walk A Mile in Their Shoes awareness walk coming next month

On March 22, Austin Peay State University will be hosting their annual Walk A Mile in Their Shoes benefiting the Sexual Assault Center’s Clarksville office (SAC). Walk A Mile in Their Shoes will be held March 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Austin Peay State University's Fortera Stadium.

Sexual Assault Center Reception

The Sexual Assault Center (SAC) held a reception at Frothy Monkey to honor retiring President Tim Tohill. Tohill has led the charity for 25 years and the new president is Rachel Freeman, who has worked at SAC for 16 years.

Sexual Assault Center to provide rape exams in new clinic

Officials of the Sexual Assault Center (SAC) are in the process of creating an area within their current facility that is designed exclusively to provide expert and reliable forensic evaluation for rape survivors in a compassionate and supportive setting….

SAC in The News 2017:

Middle Tennessee woman amoung 180 sexual assault accusations at Massage Envy

Heather Meshell, Sexual Assault Response Team Coordinator, “I don't know that there's necessarily anything on the front end that someone can do to protect themselves from sexual assault,” Meshell said. “Abusers look for vulnerable situations to take advantage of people, and I think we see that in the Massage Envy cases.”

SAC on Cara a Cara on La Ranchera

Alicia Bunch, Therapist and Hispanic Outreach coordinator, speaks with the Hispanic Family Foundation about the topic of sexual harassment in our culture. 

Sexual assault allegations against massage chain bring back painful memories for TN women

Heather Meshell with the Nashville Sexual Assault Center said a sexual assault is one of the hardest things to report, but it’s becoming easier.

“People are talking about it. It's not as stigmatized as it once was because we are all realizing the ‘Me Too’ campaign. We are all realizing this affects more people we originally recognized,” Meshell said.

Coasters that test for date rape drugs distributed to Tennessee bars

Learn more about SAC’s new initiative, SAFE BAR, and how we hope to reduce the instance of drug-facilitated sexual assault by training bar and restaurant staff from Sharon Travis, Community Outreach and Prevention Specialist. 

Mad Hatter Gala: Silver Anniversary

This is the largest crowd I've seen here yet," retiring executive director Tim Tohill said as he marveled at the size of the crowd. In fact, Tim was being honored for his 25 years of exemplary leadership. The gala, which was also celebrating its 25th anniversary, has become one of Nashville's signature charitable events, offering an elegant evening of fun, energy and passion for the mission of SAC.

Letters of Healing: To Reach a Higher Purpose, Featuring SAC Therapist, Jasmine Jno-Baptiste

Why victims of sexual assault may wait to come forward 

With a new headline involving accusations of sexual assault being published seemingly every day, many are wondering why victims wait so long to come forward. Sexual assault experts say these public reports are providing a powerful opportunity for victims to talk about their private, life-altering experiences – and trust that someone may finally hear and believe them. "You can never say too many times, 'I believe you, I support you, and I know this is not your fault,’” said Jessica Labenberg, a victim advocate at the Sexual Assault Center of Nashville.

#MeToo Prompting Conversations About Sexual Assault

"As a community we are having those conversations, and we are having conversations that focus on holding offenders accountable, and saying sexual assault, sexual harassment will not be tolerated. That is not appropriate and that will not be tolerated in our communities," said Jessica Labenberg, Sexual Assault Center.

Middle TN women join #MeToo social media posts bringing forward sexual assault victims

Jessica Labenberg is the advocacy director of the Sexual Assault Center in Nashville. She said while the posts can be therapeutic for some survivors, it's not for everyone.

“The term that gets used a lot within our practice area is it can be re-traumatizing," Labenberg said. "It can be re-triggering for someone to have to tell their story over and over.”

Labenberg said the more people feel comfortable talking about sexual assault, the more comfortable they'll feel reporting it which can lead to prevention.

Harvey Weinstein case is just the latest wake up call 

Have sexual abuse and harassment become so embedded into our culture and daily lives that as a society we are growing to accept it? I refuse to believe that is true. So what can we do to change this silent epidemic?  We must keep talking. There are thousands of brave individuals who daily share their stories of experiencing the trauma of sexual assault and harassment. We must listen to them, but we have to do more ... we have to make change.

Prostitutes arrested at much higher rate than their customers

“Part of that is saying men are less accountable because boys will be boys, and women who are sexual or selling sex are sort of these temptresses,” said Sarah Orton with the Sexual Assault Center. Orton said the statistics are scary. “What we are showing them are Johns are safer and more valuable members of society,” Orton said. Both advocates point out, most prostitutes are victims of crimes themselves.

TN film community urges victims to speak out

Sexual assault advocates said high-profile scandals actually encourage more victims to come forward. Advocates want victims to know there's a growing support system for them.

Sexual assault intervention training launches in Nashville bars

"Raising awareness is a huge part of the battle," Brown added. "I think that's a big part of Safe Bar, telling people in our community that this happens. We need to start talking about it. We can't be silent anymore. And let's talk about ways that we can protect each other and really care for each other."

Green Hills News Social: Mad Hatter Gala

The Sexual Assault Center’s Mad Hatter Gala was held at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, where the spotlight was on Tim Tohill, the organization’s president who is retiring after 25 years. Since the first gala more than 20 years ago, over two million dollars have been raised to benefit Middle Tennessee’s Sexual Assault Center.

Nsider: Mad Hatter Patrons Party

 Lisa and John Campbell graciously hosted patrons of this year’s Mad Hatter Gala in their Belle Meade home. 

Nashville schools accused of failing to investigate sexual misconduct in 4th lawsuit

Sharon Travis with the Sexual Assault Center explained the ongoing "rape culture." "Other kids are videotaping while it's going on so it's not like there isn't someone around to interrupt or disrupt it," Travis said. "When we're talking about adolescents and the rape culture, they have an added pressure with navigating social media and understanding boundaries."

SAC Mad Hatter Event 9/15/2017

Learn more about SAC’s annual event, Mad Hatter, taking place on Friday, September 15, 2017. 

TN Matters, Robert Buan with Katie Davis- Sexual Assault Center

Katie Davis, Event Coordinator, talks with iHeart Radio about SAC’s annual Mad Hatter Gala taking place on Friday, September 15, 2017. 

Victim Advocacy Group Questions Sexual Abuse Education in Schools

The Sexual Assault center said that's leading some teachers in the state to not teach anything, in fear they might get sued if a student asks a question outside of "abstinence-only." "We do have some laws that are crafted that tie the hands of teachers and educators and community people from being able to have open and thorough conversations about this topic," said Sharon Travis with the Sexual Assault Center.

Sexual Abuse Comes Home to Roost

SAC’s Kim Janecek discusses the importance of talking and educating our youth when it comes to sexual assault prevention. 

TN man charged with attempted sexual battery of child in doctor's office waiting room

Kim Janecek said it’s a conversation every parent should have but few talk about. "Sexual assault is one of those taboo topics no one wants to talk about, but it happens to one in four girls and one in six boys before they turn 18," said Janecek, curriculum manager at the Sexual Assault Center in Nashville.

Sex abuse prevention experts: Brentwood Academy student policies may send troubling message

SAC’s Vice President, Rachel Freeman, speaks to student policies. "How do you handle it when someone does something illegally to you? That requires more than a respectful conversation with your alleged offender."

We all play a role in preventing child sex abuse

An opinion piece about how we all are responsible for preventing child sex abuse by SAC’s President, Tim Tohill. 

Officials say education, training needed to combat abuse in schools

Erin’s Law, which passed in 2014, requires all public schools to adopt a sex abuse education curriculum. However, there is no penalty if they don’t. “Unfortunately, not all of the students are using the program, so their students don’t understand or know or feel empowered to speak up if they know something is going on,” Janecek said. Janecek said 57 schools in all of Tennessee use their training program.

Brentwood Academy named in multi-million dollar suit alleging rape of young boy

SAC’s Sharon Travis speaks to how micro-aggressions can lead to sexual violence. 

Sexual assault victims deserve more treatment options

Nashville General Hospital, a community partner with SAC, speaks to the increasing need of more options for survivors of sexual assault and SAC’s plans of a new sexual assault forensic clinic. 

Big Payback raises $2.6M for TN Nonprofts  

Join SAC at Kali Yuga Yoga on May 3rd as they participate in The Big Payback

Parents reach out to advocates to talk about Amber Alert Situation

Kim Janecek, the prevention education curriculum manager with the Sexual Assault Center in Nashville, said parents are calling her with questions. Many want to know how to talk about the Amber Alert with their children. "Ask the kids, 'What do you think about that?' and say that's not OK to have that type of relationship with your teacher," Janecek said. She said it's important to lay out what boundaries are and when they can be crossed.

How to talk to kids about Elizabeth Thomas' case

Kim Janecek with the Sexual Assault Center in Nashville said it's a case that's important to talk to your kids about. "Parents just need to sit down and make sure that they understand why it's inappropriate to have this type of relationship with an adult," Janecek said. She said kids need to understand boundaries between themselves and grownups: what's ok, and what's not.

New details released of AMBER Alert kidnapping suspect's 'troubling pattern of behavior'

SAC Janecek said teens may not know they are a victim when they are looking for that acceptance…

SAC in The News 2016-Later

Notice sent to Vanderbilt students after sexual assault reported on campus

Abuso sexual Que es

Sexual Assault Center create online training for student volunteers

Trump comments perpetuate rape culture that must end

Mad Hatter event raises record funds for sexual assault survivor

2016 Mad-Hatter

Judge denies re-sentencing hearing for Corey Batey 

Mad Hatter Ball a huge success

Mad Hatter Patron Party

What to Wear in September We've Got Answers!

Police Description Of Man Who Raped Nanny May Match Earlier Case

Jeremy Durham Special Session Signatures Grind to A Halt

Exclusive The Culture that Allowed Durham to Thrive

Jeremy Durham had sexual interactions with 22 women report says

Advocates say policy mindset changes needed to combat rape on campus

Could bystanders have prevented Vanderbilt rape

Stanford assault survivor showed power of words

3-years after rape at Vanderbilt


The Vanderbilt rape retrial exposed a growing problem of sexual assault on college campuses

Sexual assault advocates attorneys weigh in on Cosby effect

Only one hospital in Nashville offers rape exams

Community Must Unite to Fight Growing Sexual Assault Issues

Sexual abuse victim celebrates little victories

TBI Report Number of Reported College Sex Offenses Rises in 2015

Salute to Excellence honors nonprofit achievements 

Nfocus Model Behavior 2015: honoring Sandy Madsen

Mad Hatter

Mad Hatter: United we stand

25th Annual Mad Hatter Gala

One woman's crisis brings rape center back to Clarksville

Despite Vanderbilt mistrial, stand up to sexual violence

Boys and men are also survivors of sexual abuse

Walk in Their Shoes event raises money, awareness about sexual violence

Volutneer helps empower sexual assault survivors

Here are ways to stand up against sexual violence

Sexual Assault Awarenss Month calls for action

Here are ways to stand up against sexual violence 

Sexual Violence Prevention Presentation

Campus review cited lack of evidence in Vandy rape case

Sexist attitudes still afflict us, but we are evolving

S.A.C. sees 4x calls during Vanderbilt Rape Trial 

Vanderbilt trial brought new attention to horror of rape

Vanderbilt rape verdicts signal support for assault victims 

Vanderbilt rape trial inspires more calls to Sexual Assault Center 

Details of Vandy Rape Case Trigger Survivors of Sexual

Que Pasa Nashville

Help Us End Silence of Sexual Violence

Nashville Sexual Assault Center Trains College Students

The 2014 Mad Hatter

New details revealed in rape reported on Vanderbilt campus

NFL must stand up for women

Angelou Inspires Survivors to Use Voices

Sexual Assault Center Walk Raises Awareness

Nashville Unifies Sex Abuse Prevention Strategy

TN Legislature OKs Change in Statute of Limitations for Rape

Survivor of Rape, We Will Be Your Voice

Advocates Launch All-Out Campaign to Stop Child Sexual Abuse

At Nashville Sexual Assault Center, Survivors Find Healing

Rape Numbers Don't Add Up

Stop Double Standard Over Rape

More Calls to Sexual Assault Center Amid Vanderbilt Allegations

June 2013 Making a Difference: Sexual Assault Center