As we move into the New Year, a new legislative session begins in the state of Maryland. Throughout this legislative session, MCASA will be in Annapolis standing up for sexual assault survivors and pushing for policies that will help end sexual violence in our state.
During this legislative session, we will fight for bills that expand funding for rape crisis centers, enabling them to provide crucial services to survivors. This is one of MCASA’s top priorities this legislative session in order to respond to the elevated need for services across the state of Maryland. Another major piece of legislation MCASA continues to advocate for the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, a bill that limits the parental rights of rapists when a child results from the assault. The time has also come to modernize Maryland’s sexual assault statutes to make it clear that survivors do not have to physical resist sexual assault. These pieces of legislation will make a significant impact in the lives of sexual assault survivors across the state of Maryland.
Our full legislative agenda can be found on our website. This agenda grows as we move through legislative session. We must speak up and fight for what’s right. Please help us help survivors: we ask that all MCASA members and supporters commit to contacting their legislators at least 3 times during the legislative session. To find your legislator, click here. Together we can make a difference for survivors.
In order to advance prevention efforts, we must engage in discussions of rape culture and how it contributes to sexual violence in our society. In this issue’s Prevention Corner, we unpack what rape culture is and how we can address the problem in our prevention efforts. Our College Consortium feature in this issue highlights the guide released this month by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault entitled Preventing and Addressing Campus Sexual Misconduct: A Guide for University and College Presidents, Chancellors, and Senior Administrators. This new guide provides recommendations to college and university leadership on how to best improve their schools’ prevention and response efforts with regard to sexual assault.
It is essential that in our prevention efforts and response to sexual assault we are inclusive of traditionally underserved populations of sexual assault survivors. Homeless survivors face particular challenges in accessing resources and support. In this issue of Frontline, we have included a piece on homeless survivors and some of the unique challenges they face, including a discussion of the intersection of sexual violence and housing.
Finally, in this quarter’s Program Spotlight feature, we highlight HopeWorks of Howard County and the services and programs they provide to support survivors of sexual assault.
Best wishes for 2017. Hope to see you in Annapolis,
Lisae Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director and Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault