AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault presented annual awards at its annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month Blaine House Tea on Tuesday.
Erin Rhoda, Editorial Page Editor at the Bangor Daily News, received the 2014 Visionary Voice Award, a national award given by MECASA in collaboration with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to recognize the creativity and hard work of individuals around the country who have demonstrated outstanding work to end sexual violence.
When presenting the award to Rhoda, Elizabeth Ward Saxl, Executive Director of MECASA said, “Erin has become a wonderful and balanced voice for issues of sexual violence in the state of Maine. Erin’s blend of the understanding of the tenets of journalism and the multi-layered issue of sexual violence makes her a unique part of Maine’s media and someone whose opinion we value.”
Rhoda and the Bangor Daily News also received MECASA’s annual Make a Difference Award, an award given to individuals and/or organizations which have exemplified a steadfast commitment to ending sexual violence in Maine. “The Bangor Daily News’ and Erin’s partnership and commitment to addressing sexual violence has helped launch a movement within Maine’s media to work in partnership with MECASA and our member centers,” said Ward Saxl.
Four other awards were also presented at the tea. MECASA’s Advancing the Mission Award – each year awarded to one or more sexual assault support center staff members from Maine – was given to Keri Myrick of the Androscoggin Children’s Advocacy Center and Meg Hatch of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Kennebec and Somerset Counties for their contributions to MECASA’s initiatives with regard to Children’s Advocacy Centers. Sarah Vasil and the late Sheryl Russell received MECASA’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Award, which is given each year to a SAFE nurse who provides quality and compassionate care to victims who receive SAFE exams (rape kits).
“We are lucky to live in a state where policy makers, organizations, and individuals care about the issue of sexual violence and consider it a priority,” said Saxl in her closing remarks. “Sexual violence is a community issue which demands community solutions. Today’s awardees are clear proof that community solutions are happening in Maine.”