Rape and Sexual Abuse Center continues on Hennepin under Cornerstone nonprofit

The former Rape and Sexual Abuse Center was one of the first in the country when it opened in 1972. Although its host, the Neighborhood Involvement Program, closed last year, the center has resumed operation at 2431 Hennepin Ave. through Cornerstone Advocacy Service.

A 24-hour crisis line continues to be available for survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence at 952-884-0330. Calls often come from people suffering panic attacks or flashbacks, said Ellen Gormican, sexual violence program coordinator.

“Some people may just need that crisis line and need to check in with someone who understands the dynamics of trauma,” she said.

Age 16-24 is the time someone is most likely to experience sexual assault, but it’s not uncommon to receive calls from people who experienced trauma 10 or 20 years ago, Gormican said.

“They’re just getting to the place where they feel they can talk about it,” she said.

Aside from counseling, staff can assist in securing new housing, which can be particularly important if a perpetrator is a partner or lives in the same building. Cornerstone owns a couple of apartment buildings and a 35-bed shelter in Bloomington.

If a survivor plans to make a statement to police, Cornerstone staff can accompany them.

Legal resources are also available to help cut down on victims’ legal costs. Cornerstone staff have judicial privilege, and they can’t testify about any information a survivor provides.

Gormican said the array of choices is designed to help people feel empowered.

“It’s really important for us to give the survivor a whole array of options,” she said. “Every person is different in how they process a traumatic experience.”

Cornerstone expects to launch walk-in hours and resume the center’s popular support groups in the coming months.