Local sexual assault and child abuse advocacy center expanding as needs grow
MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped in their lifetime. It’s a startling statistic from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Lotus, a sexual assault and child abuse advocacy center in Paducah, says those crimes are on the decline, but the center’s services are needed now more than ever.
Lotus is currently undergoing a $2.5 million expansion it says will help thousands of local victims.
“We are renovating the main facility as well as adding a new addition and completely renovating the grounds,” says Executive Director Lori Wells-Brown.
Wells-Brown says this project is five years in the making. “Prevention efforts are working,” she says. “Rates of violence are going down. What we are doing is a more effective job of creating community awareness so that survivors and families know where to access services. We are also creating a community of support.”
Lotus wants to be able to provide for victims who need its services. Wells-Brown says she’s seen a 225% increase in services they provide and an 132% increase in people that have come to Lotus for help.
With construction going on inside and outside the center, a usually quiet sanctuary is now a construction zone. But the expansion is set to be finished before the end of the year. The expansions will more than double the size of the center.
“We’ll have a dedicated children’s advocacy wing on one end. Our investigators come and participate in those services will have another entrance so they can come and go,” says Wells-Brown.
Precious memories were saved before construction began, such as tiles made by survivors.
“My very first client on my very first day…coming in as a new therapist and clinical director, this was the tile that she left behind when she successful completed treatment,” Wells-Brown said. “I do not know how she survived it, but she did.”
Fifteen years later, Wells-Brown is still working there to help more victims become survivors.
She says Lotus is on track to serve 1,400 victims of child abuse and sexual assault as well as their family members in 2019.
The center has a temporary location open to continue providing help for victims at 417 S. 4th Street in Paducah. You can call 270-534-4422 for more information or visit their website.