By Kathryn Rice
“Let’s start the conversation about sexual assault so we can be comfortable discussing it,” is the mantra of Meghann Kosman, Children and Family Center court/victim advocate, and Sarah Kahmann, Maryville Public Safety officer, the founders of Sexual Assault and Violence Education (SAVE).
Kosman and Kahmann continually update the SAVE program they give to schools, churches, sororities, fraternities, clubs, businesses and more.
The duo have been fine tuning SAVE since 2014. At that time, they were working on the same case and realized that education about sexual assault and violence was needed throughout the community. They created SAVE and present it as a volunteer service; it’s not part of their jobs.
The newest facet to this free program is footage they will incorporate from an upcoming mock trial. The trial, at 4:30 pm, Friday, November 18 at the Nodaway County Courthouse, is open to the public.
Kosman and Kahmann work over the summer to perfect SAVE and do most of their presentations during the school year. They can also cater SAVE to an audience and will meet with program hosts before the event to discuss presentation expectations.
“We’ve revamped with the personal story of the person who got us involved to do the SAVE presentations,” Kosman said. “It’s an attention getter. We go through the whole story, reporting pieces with her exact words. She’s brutally honest with it.”
“It drives the point home,” Kahmann said. “Much better than the state and federal statistics. We tell that people don’t report right away and use her story and words to explain why.”
SAVE presentations can be scheduled throughout the county and cover many topics including what to do if a sexual assault occurs.
Kosman said the typical message of these types of presentations is aimed at young women with the message of “how not to get raped.” The SAVE program is for everyone, male and female, middle school-age children to adults, and the message is “don’t rape.”
“This is too important of a cause not to do it any way, through any media,” Kahmann said. “We don’t need money, we need audiences.”
“It’s too important,” echoed Kosman, “and we know it’s making a difference.”
Kosman and Kahmann said that after a SAVE presentation at a sorority, a sexual assault occurred. Although the assaulted person didn’t attend the presentation, her friends did and knew what to do.
For more information about SAVE or to schedule a presentation, contact Kosman at 660.562.2320 or Kahmann at 660.562.3209.