Kim Gilbert and the Mesquite Interagency Group put on the End Violence Against Women and Girls Conference Friday.
Mesquite residents gathered at the First Baptist Church for a continental breakfast and to listen to speakers from different organizations talk about the treatment of women across the world.
The event began with a speaker from Safe Nest, a Nevada shelter organization devoted exclusively to victims of domestic violence.
Tess Peterson of the Nevada Public Health Foundation gave a talk to the conference attendees about statutory rape laws in Nevada.
“I found out about the Nevada Public Health Foundation and saw that there is a need for kids in this community and anyone really to understand about statutory rape, what it is, what it isn’t and the difference between sexual assault and rape,” Gibert said. “The goal is to become familiar with those terms and to understand what is happening so that they can make their own choice about those things. Knowledge is power.”
Adia Lancaster of New Hope Foundation International, a Nevada-based organization dedicated to human trafficking awareness and prevention, spoke about the different forms of human trafficking, how it starts, what it looks like and what cirtizens can do to stop it.
“We were doing outreach in the community and we kept hearing how people were more concerned about what is happening here in our own backyard,” Lancaster said. “So we tried to connect sexual violence in our global community of women with what is happening here locally and we noticed that human trafficking is everywhere so we brought our resources to do this.”
The final speaker of the afternoon, Lisa McAllister of the Rape Crisis Center, gave a talk about resources and support that the crisis center provides.
It was a full day of topics that may be uncomfortable but were informative and necessary to those who came to hear them.
“I definitely learned a lot and received a lot of valuable information that I didnt know and can use in my presentation,” Lancaster said. “All of these topics, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, human trafficking, they all intersect with each other and can often be related issues. I learned so much.”
Gilbert, who created and organized the event with the Mesquite Interagency Group, says she feels strongly about the conference and the information given out because it contained details she feels that everyone needs now and going forward.
“This is something I feel passionately about because people need to understand and respect the tragedies that are happening predominantly to women and girls,” Gilbert said. “The point is, it affects everybody and it is ridiculous to bury your head in the sand and chalk it up to just a women’s issue. This is an issue for everybody and that is what this is all about.”