Kelley Bevis, the outreach coordinator at RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, sent the following email today that I wanted to share with you about a new project called the Hurricane Katrina Sexual Assault Services Fund. Click to read more details and how you can help with this most important effort.
As many of you know, I'm the outreach coordinator at RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, a telephone hotline that connects survivors of sexual assault with volunteer counselors at over 1,100 rape crisis centers across the US.
The reason I'm writing you all is to tell you about a project my coworkers and I have been working very hard on for the past week. I'm sure you've all seen stories in the news about rapes occurring in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. While many of these have yet to be verified (and I don't want to get on the sensationalizing bandwagon here), there are some things we do know for sure.
* Displaced persons are at an increased risk for sexual assault. At the same time they are less likely to seek proper mental health services.
* Hurricane Katrina forced a number of rape crisis centers to close their doors.
* State anti-sexual assault coalitions in impacted areas need help providing services *now* and in the future, rebuilding core sexual assault counseling services.
* Rape crisis centers in non-impacted areas where evacuees will be brought will need additional volunteers to serve their newly increased populations.
RAINN has partnered with four other national anti-sexual assault organizations and the state coalitions in the most heavily impacted areas to create the Hurricane Katrina Sexual Assault Services Fund. While I am sure most of you have already determined if and how you will be giving to recovery efforts, I do want to encourage you to consider making a small contribution to this fund. Donations to this fund will be distributed to the state coalitions and impacted crisis centers to assist in providing ample services throughout this crisis as well as bolster resources available for rebuilding.
This hits especially close to home for me, as I was born and raised in New Orleans, and I know so many people that have been affected by this hurricane. The centers that provide services along the Gulf Coast are often already in need of funding, and the need for their services will likely increase more and more as time goes on.
To contribute, visit RAINN's website at http://www.rainn.org and click on the Hurricane Katrina Sexual Assault Services Fund banner.
Please feel free to forward this email on to other people who might be interested.