Its name, and the faces of staff members and volunteers, have changed since the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center opened in September 1974, but not much else.
It is still a struggle at times for the center to maintain funding that allows it to provide victims of sexual violence and human trafficking with advocacy and counseling, and to provide educational outreach to the community, all free of charge.
And there is no denying that the rate of sexual violence in Kentucky continues to rise, and therefore so does the need for the center's services.
Fortunately, there have been big changes in other areas. Rape victims receive more compassionate treatment from police now than they did 40 years ago. Hospital staffs are better trained to preserve evidence. And only a few dinosaurs continue to blame the victim.
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In 2013, BRCC volunteers answered 680 calls on its crisis line, and they provided 609 crisis counseling interactions, 87 medical advocacies, 58 legal advocacies, and 638 informational and referral contacts from the 17 counties it serves.
In addition to that, BRCC, like the other 13 rape crisis centers in Kentucky, is involved with the University of Kentucky's Green Dot violence-prevention program, which trains students to recognize and intervene safely in situations that could lead to violence.
Kentucky is the first state to test the effectiveness of the strategy to reduce sexual violence, dating violence, sexual harassment and stalking in a high school population.
That program, according to a recent news conference in Frankfort, has resulted in the reduction of sexual violence by at least 40 percent in the 26 state high schools that participated.
At that conference, Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear said, "The Green Dot study proves that sexual violence education is the key to successfully preventing abuse and plays an important role in reducing the state's overall rates of violence."
That's progress. And it is progress we might not have seen without the dedicated advocacy, education and counseling offered by rape crisis centers across the state.
"Our services are crucial to people's healing process," said Stephanie Humes, BRCC's director of operations. "We want to eradicate sexual violence."
"Everyone can do something," Humes said about the Green Dot program. "Rather than focusing on the victim and the perpetrator, we try to focus on all the rest of us who can intervene in a positive way. It is a call to action."
We can also join that call to action by helping Rape Crisis Center staff members focus more on providing comprehensive services, and less on how to financially maintain the program. That's why the center hopes we will make plans to attend the revival of the Black and White Ball, an event it last hosted in 2008.
"We are celebrating our 40th anniversary," said Mae Suramek, BRCC's executive director. "We wanted to reintroduce the center and highlight the direction we are going in and the services we have been providing for 40 years.
"We need the village to come together through bystander intervention, volunteering, and funding the program," she said.
The ball will also highlight "40 Faces of Impact": people and organizations that have "demonstrated unparalleled commitment to the eradication of sexual violence in Kentucky." Some of those to be honored include Fayette Family Court Judge Kathy Stein; Pat Gerhard, owner of Third Street Stuff; artist and poet Bianca Spriggs; and the Junior League of Lexington.
At the ball, the art work of survivors will be on display. A community art piece will be created by those in attendance. There will also be "pop-up voices," similar to a flash mob, with each one giving sexual violence statistics or speaking as survivors, Suramek said.
During a live and silent auction, 2015 first floor clubhouse Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks tickets will be available, plus two guitars, one signed by country star Miranda Lambert and one by Kirk Hammett, lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Metallica. Also up for bid will be a New York City getaway with Broadway tickets, hotel stay and airfare for two.
Suramek asks that attendees wear black, white, or a combination of the two. "You don't have to wear a tuxedo," she said. "Treat it like a special occasion and wear something that makes you feel good about being there."
The work they do ought to make us all feel good.