For 15 years, Kimberly Brown Campbell worked in community mental health care across the West, from rural Lewiston, Idaho, to inner city Seattle. During that experience, she's seen it all.
"I worked in homes, schools and even detention facilities and I saw these epidemic proportions of family violence, things like child abuse, child sexual abuse and incest," she says. "It surprised me and I thought there had to be something I could do."
Brown Campbell moved to Missoula in 2005 and took a job with the county as a crime victim's advocate. In January, she will become the University of Montana's new campus assault prevention coordinator, where she will help heal a community shaken by recent high-profile rape cases and a Department of Justice investigation.
"Sometimes good things can come out of a stressful situation," says the 43-year-old advocate. "I think good things will come out of this stressful time."
Brown Campbell's first order of business will be a campus-wide listening tour.
"I want to talk to students, and see what people feel needs to be done to improve assault prevention efforts on campus and then do my best to implement that," she says. "That will be my spring semester."
She will also launch a training program in January to teach students how to do bystander intervention if they see a risky situation unfold. Ultimately, she hopes to raise awareness about issues like stalking and sexual assault, dispel myths and help young people have healthy relationships.
"For instance, contrary to common belief, it is more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone you know, than by a stranger jumping out of the bushes," she says. "Dating violence is something we will really focus on."
Brown Campbell says working around so much human pain sometimes takes its toll, but she finds solace in her art studio above the Zootown Arts Community Center. "Printmaking is my favorite," says Brown Campbell, who was trained as an art therapist. "It's pretty abstract. It's whatever comes out, and maybe it's abstract because I feel like getting away from all that stuff when I do my art."
Brown Campbell will serve in her position, which is funded by a grant from the DOJ, until at least 2015.