My name is Anne Bean and I am the Coordinator of Family Violence Programs in Cecil County. I’ve been affiliated with The Bridge for 22 years.
What makes the Cecil County community you serve special?
Cecil County is a beautiful County with access to many natural resources. Communities are tight knit with multigenerational families. The County is somewhat rural and has a great deal of agricultural business. Although rural, Cecil County is within an hour of Philadelphia, PA and Baltimore, MD. One of the things that makes Cecil County special is the rich, collaborative relationships that exist between agencies and programs that provide human services.
Tell us about The Bridge's current community prevention efforts.
The Bridge embraces opportunities to provide the community with presentations, participate in outreach events, or educate through social media outlets. Presentations often contain information about healthy relationships, dating safety and building an expectation of mutual respect. Many of the outreach materials used by The Bridge come from the Men Can Stop Rape organization and focus on bystander intervention and taking personal responsibility to prevent sexual violence.
Why are you a member of MCASA?
The Bridge relies on MCASA for a variety of things. MCASA keeps the rape crisis programs in MD connected and facilitates routine communication. This is particularly important to The Bridge as it is a small program and the only one in Cecil County providing the particular services needed by survivors of sexual violence. We also depend on MCASA for quality training opportunities at low to no cost to keep our staff well informed and equipped to do the work surrounding responding to sexual violence. Finally, we depend on MCASA to change existing laws or create new laws that are responsive to the needs of survivors. This is crucial work in advancing our society to one that does not tolerate or condone sexual violence in any form.
What called you to your work?
During my undergraduate studies, I stumbled upon a Women’s Studies course and was hooked! Later, after completing a graduate program I realized, I have always felt compelled to work towards ending oppression and recognize that sexual violence is a vehicle used to perpetuate oppression. When I started working at The Bridge it was as the sexual assault therapist. Although, I no longer provide direct services I am just as passionate about the people we serve as I was when I started.
MCASA prioritizes advocating funding for rape crisis centers. With the rise of the #MeToo movement why is funding for rape crisis centers important?
Funding is so crucial for rape crisis centers.The demands and the needs increase and for many years the resources did not reflect these increases.Since we have received an increase in funding we have been able to add staff, provide safe living accommodations for victims, create a media campaign and focus on human sex trafficking.