History and Mission
The Cottage provides intervention, advocacy, referrals, and support for survivors and families impacted by child abuse and sexual assault. The Cottage also raises awareness and provides prevention education about these issues.
In 1974, the Athens Rape Crisis Line was established in reaction to the Holman-Sunset rapist by a group of female activist within the Athens community. The Athens Rape Crisis Line was the first anti-sexual assault organization formed in Georgia and was a founding member of the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault (GNESA).
Later, in 1990, the Rape Crisis Line received funding to hire staff and open an office serving Clarke, Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Oglethorpe, Oconee, and Walton counties. The organization'sname was changed to the Rape Crisis Center of Northeast Georgia (RCC). Five years later the Rape Crisis Center relocated to its current location behind the Athens Clarke County Police Department. In addition, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) program began a partnership, the RCC, to provide forensic exams on-site. Soon after, the Child Advocacy Program was added to specifically serve child victims and their families.
In 1998, the RCC changed its name to the Sexual Assault Center of Northeast Georgia, Inc. in an effort to encompass all survivors of sexual violence. A few years later, the Center received a grant to expand the Athens office to what it is today. In addition, The Family Protection Center opened in 2005 in Clarke County to provide a single location for the collaboration of many agencies that work with adult, child and elderly victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and child and elderly victims of neglect, or physical or sexual abuse. The Cottage participates in this collaboration by conducting many services to the victims of sexual assault and child sexual abuse at the Family Protection Center.
The Cottage has undergone many expansions and contractions in the staff and services in the past eight years. Recently, The Cottage almost closed its doors to the community and other agencies it serves. Thanks to the efforts of many committed community members The Cottage was not closed, but has gained all new staff or Board of Directors in the middle of the year 2007.
The Sexual Assault Center of Northeast Georgia changed it's name to The Cottage, Sexual Assault Center and Children's Advocacy Center in October of 2008. This was in celebration and commitment to continued service to the community members of Clarke, Oconee, Madison and Oglethrope Counties. The Cottage continues to have a 24/7 crisis hotline. The Cottage works within the community with child abuse and sexual assault prevention efforts. The Cottage also is involved in fundraising and community awareness events.
The Cottage has evolved over the years and will continue to do so as long as the Center exists. As long as there are individuals, organizations, and agencies committed to ending violence in our society and sexual violence in particular, The Cottage will be along leading the fight against these injustices to our community.