Earlier this fall, MCASA watched with you as Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford bravely stood before the Senate Judiciary Committee and shared her testimony. We believe Dr. Ford, as we believe all survivors. MCASA will never forget the negative reactions and responses to Dr. Ford’s testimony. The vilification of women who speak out against powerful abusers has been perpetuated in our society for far too long. With this in mind MCASA will not give up on our fight to end sexual violence.
Many survivors have come forward with their stories, inspired by Dr. Ford’s courage. The National Sexual Assault Hotline saw a 147% increase in calls the day of Dr. Ford’s testimony. Local rape crisis centers in Maryland also saw an increase in survivors seeking hotline services. Survivors have made their voices heard on social media and within their communities. However, if you do not wish to share your story, or can't, it is okay. You don't owe anyone your story. We believe you.
77% of sexual assaults go unreported. It is time for our society to reexamine the culture that enables this under-reporting. Almost all policymakers have stated that they are against sexual violence, but only some have stood with us. Thank you to those who stood with survivors.
In the aftermath of Dr. Blasey-Ford’s courageous testimony in front of the Supreme Court, we have been starkly reminded of the misunderstanding surrounding the impact of trauma on sexual assault survivors. In this issue of Frontline, we discuss the lasting effects of trauma, and how to use what we know about trauma to better inform the care of survivors.
In Prevention Corner, we explore how to talk to children about boundaries and consent. Often, youth may not learn about consent education until college, but in this article we explore how to talk to children as young as toddlers about bodily autonomy and consent in an age-appropriate manner. In our College Consortium article titled How Excessive Drinking on Game Day may be Facilitating Sexual Violence, we highlight an important study showing a disturbing link between students tailgating college football games, alcohol consumption, and college sexual assaults.
This issue also highlights user safety and consent on dating apps in our Safety Sync column, as well as the important role that anti-oppression work plays in sexual violence prevention efforts. Assistant Coordinator for the Maryland Women of Color Network, Brittany Lewis, explains that anti-oppression work is not “one size fits all” in our Underserved Populations column. Our program spotlight features Life Crisis Center, a wonderful organization that serves Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset counties. Additionally, we are happy to share some exciting changes in the law to more effectively punish “sextornists”. To learn more, please click here.
As always, we thank you for your continued support, your work, and your willingness to remain focused and push policy forward. As we approach the holiday season, we hope that you will consider being a part of the call action by becoming a member of MCASA and/or making a charitable donation. Every voice counts, and together we can collectively work to eradicate all forms of sexual violence in Maryland.
From the frontlines,
Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault