The Bozeman community came together, looking for answers to crucial- but often hard- questions to ask during a sexual assault awareness forum Bozeman Police held Thursday night.
Representatives from Gallatin County Victim's Services, Montana State University's Voice Center, Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, HAVEN, Bozeman Help Center, Sex Assault Counseling Center, MSU and Bozeman Police, Gallatin County Sheriff's Office, and a city and county attorney were all on hand to answer those questions and offer advice.
Inquiries ranged in topics from sex crime reporting in the media, to how to help a victim of a sex assault.
The panel answered each question, and from that, gave advice and information about sexual crimes in the community.
Panel members like Megan Selheim said it was great to answer everyone's questions and see where the community stood in their knowledge of the issue.
"For us, it's just good to keep tabs on what people are thinking, and where they're at in terms of what information they have, and what they know, and want to know" she said. "Because that definitely directs... our outreach efforts and our education efforts."
Selheim is a community education specialist with both the Sex Assault Counseling Center and HAVEN.
She said Gallatin County has a great sex assault response team, but a lot of people aren't aware of those resources.
That's why the forum was crucial in informing the public how to take advantage of the services, she said.
"If we don't know who we're talking to, we're just not going to be effective" she said, adding "it's important to maintain that dialogue with the community."
Selheim said she hopes the resource team will hold more forums so they can continue to educate the public and spread awareness about sex assault- and the resources available for victims and families.
For more information on sexual assault and resources in Gallatin County, you can call the Sexual Assault Counseling Center at 406-586-3333, HAVEN at 406-586-4111 or the MSU Voice Center at 406-994-7069. All are 24-hour phone lines.