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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | EAST COUNTY / SIMI VALLEY

Clubs Provide Funds for Rape Exam Center

July 29, 1998|COLL METCALFE

In a gesture heralded by county leaders as an example of community pride and spirit, the Kiwanis Club of Santa Susana agreed Tuesday to contribute the final amount of money needed to establish a rape and sexual abuse exam center at Simi Valley Hospital.

At their weekly meeting, Kiwanis Club members delivered a check for $7,500 to the hospital to establish the center--the first for communities in east Ventura County.

"I think what this highlights is that the community came together for this," said Brian Gabler, a Kiwanis Club member and Simi Valley's deputy city manager. "There is definitely a need for this in the community."

Raised through the club's "Build a Mile" campaign to drum up funds to help area agencies fight child abuse, the money will be added to the $14,500 collected to purchase a colposcope--a specially designed camera used to photograph microscopic evidence--and pay specially trained nurses to manage the center.

The center will evaluate victims of rape and sexual abuse and collect evidence for prosecution.

Previously, victims had to travel 45 minutes to Ventura to undergo the examinations, compounding an already traumatic experience.

"When I was police chief, one of my greatest frustrations was that rape victims and child abuse victims had to go all the way to Ventura to undergo these exams," said Simi Valley City Councilman Paul Miller. "So this is really very encouraging. . . . It's been a long time in coming."

Supervisor Judy Mikels has led the effort to raise money for the $21,000 colposcope.

Over the past year, groups including the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise, the Ventura County Medical Resource Foundation, Peace Officers Assn. and the Building Industry Assn.'s Women's Council contributed $14,500.

Simi Valley Hospital agreed to donate the space needed for the exam room.

And though Mikels was unable to attend Tuesday's Kiwanis Club meeting, aide Keith Jajko said securing the funding was a welcome relief.

"This money finally put us over the hump and that's more than enough reason to be happy," he said.

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