When You Walk, You Support Services that Change Lives

By Boston Area Rape Crisis Center staff

This post originally appeared on the BARCC blog on February 23, 2018.

When you participate in BARCC’s Walk for Change — as a walker or by giving money to a walker — you’re investing in free life-saving services for survivors of sexual assault and harassment, and their families, friends, and communities. This includes the following:

  • Case Management: We work directly with survivors and significant others to ensure that their immediate and longer-term health, housing, financial, and safety needs are being met. We provide information and assistance to survivors in accessing necessities like health insurance, housing funds, emergency shelter, victim compensation, and public benefits.
  • Counseling: We provide short-term individual, couples, family, and group counseling with trained counselors for survivors and their loved ones to help them find their strengths, understand the impact of trauma on their lives, build and use coping skills, and explore ways to heal and thrive.
  • 24–7 Hotline: Trained and supervised volunteer counselors and staff are always available to talk with survivors, their loved ones, and providers about sexual violence. We take calls from people in all stages of their experience, from the immediate aftermath of an assault to years and even decades into the healing process.
  • Legal Advocacy: Our legal team helps survivors understand their legal rights and options. BARCC doesn’t offer legal representation, but we assist survivors as they navigate the civil and criminal justice systems, including campus processes. Our lawyers and advocates also assist with ongoing harassment or stalking. They advocate for survivors’ privacy and safety in every aspect of their life. We also offer referrals to attorneys who have experience with sexual assault cases.
  • 24–7 Medical Advocacy: Our highly trained and supervised volunteer and staff advocates will meet survivors and their significant others at the hospital emergency room and intensive care unit 24–7. The advocate’s purpose is to provide comfort to the survivor by sharing knowledge, reinforcing the control the survivor has, facilitating communication as needed, and ensuring the survivor has next steps and referrals.

BARCC offers all of these services free of charge. Which means that survivors can devote more of their energy to recovering and healing from their assault rather than worrying about paying a bill for counseling services or legal guidance. BARCC is there for survivors in times of immediate crisis and long after — we recognize that there is no set timeline or one-size-fits-all-approach to healing.

In addition to working with individual survivors, BARCC also works to change the laws, institutions, cultural norms, and attitudes that enable sexual assault to persist in our society. We work with partners locally and nationally toward the goal of ending sexual assault. We do this through programs that include the following:

  • Community Awareness and Prevention Services: BARCC provides education and training to schools, college campuses, police, businesses, community-based organizations, and communities in responding appropriately to survivors of sexual assault and creating school and workplace cultures that reduce the occurrence of sexual assault in the first place. For example, we offer “bystander trainings” on how people can take action when they witness inappropriate comments or behaviors related to sexual violence.
  • Survivor Speakers Bureau (SSB): Survivors volunteer to share their stories to help people connect with the issue of sexual violence and better understand how they can support survivors and create change in their communities. SSB volunteers receive training and support from BARCC in telling their stories to educate various audiences.
  • Youth Leadership Corps (YLC): BARCC empowers young people ages 14–19 to become activists, educating their communities about sexual violence and creating change. Our YLC members also advise us on how BARCC can better serve young survivors.

As the #MeToo movement has brought an intense focus on the problem of sexual assault in our society, demand for BARCC services has skyrocketed — as it has at rape crisis centers around the country. By showing up for survivors at the Walk for Change, you’re making sure our services are free for any survivor, family member, or friend who needs them. Register for the Walk today to say #IBelieveYou to #MeToo.

If you want to help grow our impact, please consider fundraising as part of your Walk participation. Every person who shares their fundraising page is spreading the word about BARCC, our comprehensive free services, and our mission to end sexual violence further than we ever could on our own! We know asking people for money is hard for a lot of us, so we have tips and resources to support your fundraising efforts. And look at what the funds you raise can do:

  • $25 trains two people to stop sexual violence before it happens.
  • $45 allows a survivor to receive crisis support on our 24-hour hotline.
  • $60 provides legal support for a survivor seeking justice.
  • $300 gives a survivor emotional support in the emergency room immediately following an assault.
  • $650 covers the security deposit on a new apartment for a survivor fleeing for safety.
  • $1,200 stocks BARCC’s pantry for hungry clients for one year.
  • $3,000 provides 40 hours of rape crisis training to prepare 20 BARCC volunteers to support survivors.

If you’re looking for further resources to help you raise funds for the Walk for Change, you can check out “How to raise money for a cause without losing your friends” and “6 Foolproof Ways to Fundraise for Charity Runs.”

Originally published at barcc.org.