Charleston, SC – People Against Rape, a Lowcountry nonprofit with the mission to prevent sexual violence and provide essential services to victims and survivors of sexual assault, has unveiled its new name: Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. The nonprofit of 45 years announces this news after undergoing a rebrand and simultaneously welcoming its new executive director, Alex Russell, MSW.
“It certainly is an exciting time for our organization as we start the new year with a new name, a new look and a new director,” said Tenelle O. Jones, Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. board chair. “We believe our new name will further emphasize the variety of services and advocacy that we offer, not only for victims and survivors of sexual assault but also promote the fundamental component of education surrounding sexual violence in the Lowcountry.”
Alex Russell, MSW – Tri-County S.P.E.A.KS. executive director
The organization’s new name and tagline, Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S., “Our Voice Matters,” incorporates a variety of the components in its mission and services available to advocate against sexual violence. Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. (Sexual violence Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Knowledge and Services) believes this change better reflects the organization’s mission in giving a voice to survivors and educating the community on how to speak up against sexual violence. The organization underwent the rebranding process in partnership with TRIO, a local marketing agency.
The new name also showcases the nonprofit’s availability in Berkeley and Dorchester county, providing the opportunity for its trained advocates to form new community partnerships. The Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. team is ready to provide support to all sexual assault survivors, regardless of where they reside.
“I am honored to join the team and to take part in the invaluable service that this organization brings to the community,” said Alex Russell, executive director of Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. “Previously, many community members were under the impression that we only assist victims of sexual assault, but our work goes far beyond that. We believe in the power of educating through our services and outreach programs, knowing that as we increase awareness on the subject, we can help decrease the number of sexual assaults and bring healing to those who are impacted by sexual violence.”
Russell recently joined the Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. team as its executive director, bringing several years of expertise in trauma-informed practices, program development and advocacy. She has served in a variety of roles from direct service settings to leadership within health programs. She most recently served at the College of Charleston in health promotion and violence prevention programs.
According to the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA), nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men report being raped during their lifetime. In addition, 45.9% of South Carolina women and 17.8% of men in the state report being victims of sexual violence or coercion other than rape.
Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. relies heavily on year-round donations and volunteers. In 2021 the organization plans to expand community education and rural area partnerships to further educate all ages on sexual violence prevention. Donations will also be used to update the 24-hour crisis hotline in order to accommodate more phone calls. Volunteers are crucial to the mission of the organization and are needed in all counties to assist with survivor transportation and outreach efforts.
To learn more about Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. services, volunteer opportunities or to give to the organization, visit TricountySPEAKS.org.
ABOUT TRI-COUNTY S.P.E.A.K.S.
Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. (formerly People Against Rape), is one of the oldest rape crisis center in the Carolinas, as well as one of the oldest in the country. Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. is the leading authority on sexual violence and the region’s most vocal expert when it comes to preventing, educating, advocating and supporting adult survivors of sexual violence throughout their healing journey. The organization serves the Tri-County area of the Lowcountry and it’s 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (843) 745-0144 is available 365 days a year with trained advocates available to answer calls from victims, survivors, friends, and family members of sexual assault victims.