Yesterday, President Biden signed the landmark American Rescue Plan, sending a clear message to survivors of sexual assault: we hear you and you have our support. As many survivors struggle with severe trauma reactions due to the increased stress of the pandemic, rape crisis centers and culturally specific service programs are struggling to meet the increased demand for services. MCASA's national partner, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) celebrates the first relief funding targeted specifically to sexual assault programs and culturally specific services.
Here are a few ways this funding meets the specific needs of survivors of gender-based violence:
Last spring, the NAESV conducted a survey of the impact of COVID-19 on the efforts of rape crisis centers to meet the needs of survivors. The Joint MNADV/MCASA survey was a part of this effort. It is clear that responding to survivors’ medical and legal needs has become very complex and difficult. Advocates are scrambling to find local solutions and need the help of state and federal governments.
Quotes from Maryland advocates:
"Sexual assault survivors report their trauma is amplified by quarantines, economic pressures, and fears for the future. And our staff is stretched ever thinner as they try to do more and more with less and less."
"We are facing the Hunger Games, with funders telling us to go talk to other funders, and suggesting that if we band together, we won't die. The reality is that we need more resources to respond to the needs of survivors."
"Our small rape crisis center had to restructure and eliminated three full-time positions."
Funding from the American Rescue Plan is going to make a major difference in the ability of local sexual assault programs to meet the needs of survivors.
The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence is the voice in Washington for the 56 state and territorial sexual assault coalitions and 1500 rape crisis centers working to end sexual violence and support survivors.
The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault includes all of the State’s seventeen rape crisis centers, law enforcement, mental health and health care providers, attorneys, the Sexual Assault Legal Institute, educators, survivors of sexual violence and other concerned individuals. MCASA represents the unified voice and combined energy of all of its members working to eliminate sexual violence in the State of Maryland.