No? Just me? That’s cool.
Despite the signing of the Violence Against Women Act into law, due to the 2011 Budget Control Act (sequestration), programs that aid domestic violence and sexual assault survivors will see a funding loss of $20 million dollars. Since the sequestration, other programs have seen restored funding, but there is little interest in restoring funding to these vital services. According to a report on the effects of sequestration on non-defense jobs and services, over 400,000 people will lose access to recovery programs, shelters, and other non-shelter services, such as restraining orders and sexual assault treatment.
These cuts are already impacting several local domestic violence and sexual assault agencies and programs, but we can help on a grassroots level. Although most of these organizations depend on federal funding, private donations can aid in efforts to keep these programs open for the thousands of women who need them. Compiled from a list from Mother Jones, here are just a few organizations in need with links on how to donate:
- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, a group of 11 nurses in Shreveport, Louisiana, make home visits to collect evidence from rape survivors. Without support, they may be forced to close for good.
- If funding isn’t restored by next year, the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association may have to close shelters, even after already letting go their sexual assault prevention coordinator.
- Providing services to American citizens who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and forced marriages in 175 countries, the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center in Portland, Oregon, is considering closing because of a lack of funding. This would result in over 500 women losing crisis services.
- Operating now with reduced staffing, the Friendship Center in Helena, Montana, is the only domestic violence shelter in a three-county area. The sequestration makes it incredibly difficult to restore funding for services such as cash stipends and food assistance for women and children.
- To stay open, the Rhode Island Coalition against Domestic Violence is scaling back its victims’ advocacy services to four days a week, making it harder for 1,600 people to get restraining orders or maintain their custody rights.
These organizations work every day in our communities to make women and their families safer. We can help them continue to do so.
“The trauma of the war follows women even in the relative safety of Jordan. You can see it most clearly in their eyes: the hollow stares, the sudden tears, the inability to maintain eye contact in conversations. Among the refugees, even those who appear physically unharmed are wounded.”
“If I keep my body moving and my mind occupied at all times, I will avoid falling into a bottomless pit of despair.”