MCASA is 40 years old! Last month at MCASA’s Call to Action we celebrated our 40th anniversary and reflected on our past, present, and future work for survivors of sexual violence in Maryland. Thank you to everyone who sponsored and recognized this important milestone. Your support is crucial to our work to advocate for survivors statewide, provide comprehensive legal services, and build community connections to offer prevention education.
If you weren’t able to join us, you can check out the recording from our Call to Action here and see messages from Senator Van Hollen, Senator Ben
This summer is off to a turbulent and troubling start with national news impacting rights and legal protections for survivors. The overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24th is detrimental for the rights of women, pregnant people, and survivors of sexual assault. 13 states with automatic ‘trigger’ laws have already severely restricted or outlawed abortion altogether. Abortion access is a crucial health care service for survivors that will now have limited or no access depending on their location. Although here in Maryland abortion protections are written into state law, pregnant people and survivors nationwide do not have this
Over the past three months, MCASA has been busy advocating for legislation to support survivors in the 2022 Maryland Legislative Session. We are so grateful for everyone who has already called, emailed, testified, and advocated to improve Maryland laws and policies to end sexual violence and support survivors. Thank you for your support.
As we approach the conclusion of this year’s session on April 11th, MCASA is still advocating for funding for rape crisis centers, repeal of the law making marriage a defense to some types of rape and other sex crimes, and improvements to Maryland’s sexual
2021 proved to be another challenging year as we continue to navigate a global pandemic, funding cuts for service providers, and manage the overarching uncertainty these threats may bring. These challenges have also highlighted the importance of the work of Maryland’s Rape Crisis Centers and service providers to support survivors through these difficult times. As we reflect on the past year, we are incredibly grateful for the work of all our partners in the fight to end sexual violence. We turn this gratitude into renewed energy and strength for the work of the year to come, beginning with the 2022
Fall 2021 has been a busy time for MCASA as we continue to adjust to a ‘new normal’ with ongoing pandemic and public health concerns. MCASA continues to be here to serve you through these changing times. This fall MCASA hosted its sexual assault victim advocate training fundamentals online and kicked off another virtual campus training series. An annual highlight of the fall, the Maryland Women of Color Network hosted its 16th Annual Conference on November 19th following the theme Truth, Transformation, and Healing: Supporting Survivors & Rebuilding Our Communities.
This season has also brought challenges
Summer 2021 is a time of continuing change. Many people who have been teleworking are slowly returning to in-person work or school, while others may be visiting friends and family, traveling, or enjoying activities likes movies or dinner out for the first time in over a year. This is a transitional time, and one where we must keep our efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence on the forefront. Returning to in-person spaces increases or changes some risks for sexual violence, and many survivors may be continuing to struggle from the combined trauma of COVID-19 and sexual violence.
We are in the final days of Maryland’s Legislative Session, and we still need your support. We have already advocated for bills that help stabilize legal services funding, improve responses to sexual harassment in mental health facilities, provide privacy when people change their names, and more. But there are still many bills up in the air. We’re still in the final push for bills to improve laws on workplace sexual harassment (SB834), repeal marriage as a defense to sex crimes (HB147/SB250), and create a reasonable response when teenagers engage in sexting (HB180).
We have finally put a close to 2020, a singularly challenging year that left us grappling with a global pandemic, a reckoning on racial justice in the U.S., and a turbulent election. We start 2021 with these ongoing challenges but with hope that we can move forward, heal, and grow. MCASA will be moving forward by continuing to advocate for legislation that promotes justice for survivors of sexual violence, accountability for offenders, and protection for the general public in the 2021 Maryland Legislative Session.
The 2021 session will have tremendous challenges as the General Assembly strives to keep members, staff, and the
Your donation supports Maryland sexual assault survivors and their families through programs such as the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI), which offers free legal services, as well as our work to pass tough legislation that holds sexual assault offenders accountable for their crimes.