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 Maryland Legislative Session, where MCASA will continue to advocate for legislation that promotes justice for survivors of sexual violence, accountability for offenders, and protection for the general public.
This year’s legislative session is starting off virtually, but may return to in person later in the year. MCASA will be wherever we need to be to ensure that the voices of sexual assault survivors are heard as policies are developed. Funding is the top priority this session. Maryland’s Governor holds much of the power over the budget, so we are urging Governor Hogan to fully fund sexual assault and other victim services programs. Temporary cuts to the federal Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) funds pose a real threat to rape crisis centers. We will also be urging legislators to repeal two archaic laws: first, it is long past time to repeal the law that makes marriage a defense to sex crimes. Second, we will be joining a coalition of organizations asking that the anti-LGBTQ law criminalizing consensual sexual activities be repealed. For more information, this edition of Frontline includes a full copy of our legislative priorities as well as a piece on another MCASA priority: Senator Charles Sydnor writes on legislation addressing police body-worn cameras and victim privacy. To support us in our legislative efforts, please join MCASA at our Annual Legislative Reception! Click here to find out more.
In our Prevention Corner, we discuss economic stability as a protective factor to prevent sexual violence against LGBTQ+ Individuals and highlight our newest project addressing this issue. In our Survivor Safety column, we define non-consensual intimate image sharing and how to support survivors of image abuse. We also analyze gaps in NCAA policies to protect student athletes from abuse by coaches and college staff in our College Consortium column. In addition, we highlight the importance of gender-affirming care in sexual assault forensic exams (SAFEs). Finally, we are happy to highlight another of our amazing Rape Crisis and Recovery Centers. In this issue we are featuring the Center for Abused Persons Charles County and their incredible work.
We invite you to join us in our efforts to end sexual violence:
Lisae Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault