Survivors of sexual assault are experiencing the deep impact of this moment in ways we could have never imagined. Those of us in abusive situations and those who are seeking therapy are struggling to get the support they need. Conditions that were already challenging are now exacerbated, and the needs of sexual assault survivors are being left out of the national dialogue in more ways than one.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and we’re seeing a number of important anti-violence measures being taken, but there haven’t been any funds specifically earmarked for anti-sexual violence in the stimulus. Let’s take collective steps as a multifaceted, multilayered community of survivors to understand the effects of this pandemic and the ways we can show up for each other at this time.
Now more than ever, we need to hold federal and state policymakers accountable to make sure that work is being done to prevent abuse in the home, in shelters, and in the workplace.
The National Women’s Law Center, Justice for Migrant Women, National Domestic Workers Alliance and ‘me too.’ International pooled the following resources and information to help you at this time. You can view a PDF of this resource list to print out here.
Here’s what we know about how this moment is impacting survivors:
- Health & medical systems and services are overwhelmed, and simultaneously, these services have suffered major financial loss, leaving survivors without access to the urgent medical care they may need.
- It is increasingly difficult for survivors to access the trauma-specific and therapeutic services they need to continue to heal. Not everyone has access to telehealth services.
- If your living situation is an unhealthy one, this moment could be very triggering for heightened abuse–physical, emotional, and financial.
- Low-wage workers may experience sexual harassment at heightened rates during this time because no one is paying attention to and checking abusive behavior in the workplace.
- For those that may need (and are able) to seek support from law enforcement, those protections for survivors are weakened because police “have other things to worry about.”
- Quarantines and federally-mandated curfews also hurt teen and young adult survivors who have no place to go if their current living situation isn’t safe for them
- The specific racialization of this virus has impacted the way survivors of Asian descent have been able to reach out for support in moments of need.
- While some increased funding was included for domestic violence programs within the CARES Act, significant gaps still remain to meet the needs of programs, advocates, and survivors– and no specific sexual assault funding was included in the Senate bill (which had been included in the House version).
Cope, stay safe and take care
Coronavirus Resource Kit – a collectivized compilation of resources from disabled, queer, elderly, Asian, and indigenous people and US-based mutual aid projects
Do something/Give care
National Network to End Domestic Violence created this roundup of resources for survivors of DV/SA:
Contribute to the Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund
COVID-19 Mutual Aid and Advocacy Resources – includes advocacy information & resources alongside links to many similar compilations of local mutual aid projects.
J4MW Farmworkers’ COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund – The fund was launched to raise money that will go directly to the farmworker community so that farmworkers are able to ensure they can take care of basic needs for their own families during these uncertain times.
NDWA Coronavirus Care Fund – The National Domestic Workers Alliance has launched the Coronavirus Care Fund, an emergency relief fund for domestic workers facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The goal of the fund is to raise $4,000,000 to support 10,000 workers.
FreeFrom Safety Fund for Survivors of Domestic Violence – FreeFrom believes in the creativity, resourcefulness and power that each survivor has to achieve financial independence, and to build communities that support individual, intergenerational and collective healing. All the money raised through this campaign will be used to support as many survivors as they can with $250 grants. Survivors who get these grants are at risk either because they are living with a harm-doer or because they are struggling to make ends meet and may have to return to someone who is harming them.