Frontline

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Frontline Spring 2017

Progress.  Not in every way, but in many ways.  That’s what happened this legislative session in Maryland’s General Assembly.  MCASA’s advocacy helped pass bills that fundamentally change how Maryland responds to rape.

Delegate Kathleen Dumais and Senator Delores Kelley sponsored the “No Means No” bill that modernizes Maryland’s sexual assault statutes and makes it clear that survivors never have to physically resist sexual assault.  This will mean that more sexual assault survivors will have access to the criminal justice system and that when someone says “no” to a sexual encounter, the law will back them up.

Senator Ed Kasemeyer and Delegate Aruna Miller led the charge to pass Senate Bill 734 creating dedicated funding for rape crisis centers.  This will ensure that sexual assault survivors have access to the services they need to heal and recover.  Our Program Spotlight feature highlights the efforts of the Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center (SARC) of Harford County, one of the rape crisis centers that will be supported by this bill.

Senate Bill 734 also creates a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Policy and Funding Committee to improve Maryland’s rape kit access, collection, testing, tracking, and victim notification.  Delegate Shelly Hettleman also helped in other efforts to improve how Maryland handles rape kits and will continue this mission next year.

Delegate Kirill Resnik and Senator Will Smith responded to the experience of an old friend who reported being devastated by the law’s refusal to call his rape a “rape” because of the body parts involved.  As a result of HB647/SB944, all crimes involving penetration will be referred to as “rape” – in other words, rape is rape.

There were disappointments as well.  A bill to expand introduction of evidence about past acts of sex crimes failed to get a vote.  We are hopeful that the Rules Committee of the Judiciary will look at this issue before next session.  The Rape Survivor Family Protection Act also failed to gain passage.  This important bill will create a process (not a guarantee) that will permit a rapist’s parental rights to be terminated when a child is conceived through rape.  There was a remarkable public outcry when this bill failed on the last day of session.  MCASA remains committed to advocating for survivors and passing a fair and effective Rape Survivor Family Protection Act in the future.

MCASA thanks everyone who called, emailed, testified, and supported these bills, and appreciates the legislators who helped improve Maryland’s public policies to end sexual violence.  To learn more about the 2017 legislative session, read our full legislative report here.

April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). This year, SAAM’s theme was Engaging New Voices.  We worked to reach broader audiences, encourage prevention efforts and ultimately change the culture. It is vital to engage new groups of people to participate in these conversations and speak out against all forms of sexual violence.

College campuses across Maryland participated in Sexual Assault Awareness Month events and are home to some of Maryland’s most ardent “preventionistas”.  In this quarter’s Prevention Corner feature, we highlight the campus prevention efforts of Anne Arundel Community College and how their campus is engaging new voices. Our College Consortium feature this quarter announces the re-launch of MCASA’s Speak Up Speak Out website.  Check it out for information on how to be an engaged bystander and help prevent sexual violence on college campuses.

Other articles include our Safety Sync feature, where we unpack the issues discussed in the Netflix documentary film Audrie & Daisy and how technology, cyberbullying, and social media have a significant impact on sexual assault.  An article on immigrant survivors of sexual violence discuss the unique challenges this underserved population faces accessing resources and reporting sexual assaults.

Stay strong.  Stay feisty.

Changes in our country have prompted more people to speak up, speak out and become more involved in advocating for change.  One way to help make a difference is to join MCASA and become a member.  Your support makes progress happen. #WeAreTheChange

Best Wishes,

Lisae

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.

Executive Director and Counsel


Previous Issues:


Frontline, Spring 2016 Issue

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. This year’s theme, Prevention is Possible, resonates with us here in Maryland. With the recent passage of Erin’s Law through both the House of Delegates and the State Senate, there has never been a better time for us to come together and ensure that all children receive appropriate prevention education. As Frontline goes to press, Maryland’s legislative session is in its last days. In addition to Erin’s law, the General Assembly has approved bills to expand the basis for peace orders to include revenge porn, visual surveillance, telephone misuse, and misuse of interactive computer services or electronic communication. The crime of stalking has been expanded to include acts that cause serious emotional distress. And, improvements to the child abuse reporting laws will require notification of professional boards when a mandatory reporter fails to report. To learn about other new laws, check our website after the legislative session ends at midnight on Monday, April 11th. Until then, you can view our full legislative agenda by clicking here.

In keeping with this year’s theme, we offer a breakdown of evidence-based prevention programs for middle and high school students, as well as a College Consortium feature doing the same for college programs. As we strive to provide Maryland students with evidence-based, effective prevention education, understanding the existing research on prevention programs is essential.

This is a time to recognize the important work of activists, advocates, and educators working to create a society free from sexual violence. Our Program Spotlight highlights sexual assault prevention and response at the Crisis Intervention Center, a dual sexual assault and domestic violence program serving Calvert County. In this month’s Prevention Corner, Cheryl Banks of the Prince George’s County Sexual Assault Center offers her perspective on community-based prevention work, including how Take Back the Night events can give community members the skills and the courage to make a difference. To learn more about Sexual Assault Awareness Month events near you, please visit our event listing.

Art and media also provide important avenues for prevention and healing, and the five members of the Gather Together collective that we profile in this issue are coming together to use their creativity to help build a safer Maryland. In this quarter’s Safety Sync column, we also share how one programmer created an interactive, crowdsourced tool to help fellow survivors engage more safely with popular film and TV shows.

Your support is critical as we work to advocate for survivors and hold perpetrators accountable. This is the time for us to speak loudly and continue to fight for change here in Maryland. Thank you for all that you do.

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director and Counsel


 

Frontline, Winter 2016 Issue

This month marks the beginning of the new legislative session in Maryland. MCASA continues to have an active voice in Annapolis and looks forward to continuing to advocate for policies to end sexual violence.

This legislative session, we will continue to press forward with bills to maintain funding for services for sexual assault survivors, limit the parental rights of rapists, and require age-appropriate sexual assault and abuse education in all schools. We also look forward to working with Senator Susan Lee and Delegate Kathleen Dumais on legislation to vacate convictions for petty crimes committed as a result of being a victim of human trafficking, as well as working with Senator Lee and Delegate William Smith, Jr., to ensure that all crime victims and witnesses be able to testify in court. Our full legislative agenda is on our website. We expect it to grow as the session progresses. Please help us help survivors: we ask all MCASA members and supporters to commit to contacting their legislators at least 3 times during the legislative session — email, call, visit Annapolis — just reach out and advocate 3 times. Together we can be a strong voice for survivors.  To find your legislator click here.

This issue also includes resources about the neurobiology of trauma and an important update regarding Clery Act requirements for sexual assault prevention on college campuses. This prevention reminder is timely, as MCASA has also just released our model MOUs and roadmaps for colleges. Together, these resources will help colleges to continue to improve both their prevention and response efforts.

As part of our ongoing efforts to address the issues of child sexual abuse and prevention, we have updated our online training program, “Preventing, Identifying, and Reporting Child Sexual Abuse in Maryland” to reflect recent legal developments and improve the user experience. This self-paced online course is designed to help Maryland educators and clinicians learn about the effects of child sexual abuse, prevention techniques, and Maryland-specific mandatory reporting requirements. The training also offers a certificate of completion, as well as CEUs for licensed social workers and licensed counselors and therapists.

As we look forward into the new year, we also reflect on what we learned in 2015. The 10th Annual MCASA Women of Color Network Conference, held in November 2015, was a tremendous success, with over 180 professionals, students, and advocates in attendance Learn more about MCASA-WOCN here.

Finally, this issue’s Program Spotlight highlights CASA, Inc. of Washington County. This local rape crisis center serves survivors of both sexual and domestic violence, including children and survivors of incest, and provides a 24/7 hotline, counseling and legal services, community education, and more. We invite you to learn more about their program and the essential work CASA does in Washington County.

Best wishes for 2016. Hope to see you in Annapolis,
Lisae

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault


 

Frontline, Fall 2015 Issue

November 20, 2015

In the field of sexual assault prevention and response, money is an often-discussed topic. Whether it’s a shortage of vital services due to under-funding or staff burnout due to low wages, it has long been a trueism that working to end sexual violence or helping survivors of that violence is not a financially lucrative field.

However, some companies have recently begun using price-gouging and scare tactics to try to turn public concern about the issue into a source of profit. New, private enterprises are now charging steep fees for trainings, promoting their services and certification programs as essential for professionals working in fields such as college sexual assault response. Web development companies are marketing their products aggressively by suggesting that they might prevent sexual violence. The commercialization of sexual assault–this exploitation of public concern and fear–is an alarming trend. In this issue of Frontline, we explore some of the new and unexpected ways in which sexual violence and finance overlap.

On the bright side, there are many dedicated professionals in the field advocating for and counseling survivors of sexual violence and working to end sexual violence, and everyone can do something to help. Whether you work in the field, like our wonderful colleagues at the Center for Abused Persons (the subject of this issue’s Program Spotlight) or are a community member interested in helping, Giving Tuesday is fast approaching, and there are many ways to give to the fight against sexual violence. Many give time, energy, advocacy, and passion to this important work. Others choose to help financially, by donating to organizations filled with those whose daily work is in this field. Giving Tuesday is a perfect time to give, and as December 1st approaches we hope you will follow along as we show how every donation makes an impact.

 

Best wishes,

Lisae

Lisae Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director and Counsel


 

Frontline, Summer 2015 Issue

August 18, 2015

It is now back-to-school season for families throughout Maryland, and students from kindergarten through college are turning their focus towards returning to school. As we mark this season, it is important that we continue to address sexual violence affecting students of all ages.

The Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI) assists sexual assault survivors of all ages throughout Maryland. SALI serves students at every level, including assistance with college campus judicial proceedings and issues affecting students in grades K-12. To contact SALI, please call 301-565-2277. College sexual assault remains a top priority for MCASA, as our College Policy Project continues to work towards improving collaboration and resource availability for college students throughout Maryland. Stopping college sexual violence requires strong and appropriate prevention efforts. In this vein, two features this quarter are focused on this issue of preventing sexual violence at colleges. Our Prevention Corner feature unpacks the results of two major studies that were released recently and examines the implications for preventionists seeking to engage in evidence-based practice.  Looking at the other end of the spectrum, this quarter’s Safety Syncfeature focuses on misguided smartphone apps. These apps present themselves as prevention tools, but are likely to do more harm than good.  Appropriate response mechanisms to sexual response is also a critical issue for colleges–and appropriate response mechanisms require clear definitions. Defining What Happened examines the importance of clearly articulated definitions in college sexual misconduct policies.

It is essential that these back-to-school conversations be as expansive as possible. To this end, our underserved populations feature focuses on a group who are often forgotten: children and students with disabilities. People with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse. As we think about the impact of sexual violence on students of all ages, it is important to consider ability as an additional dimension adding richness and accessibility to our prevention and response efforts.

School is not yet in session for Maryland’s students, but sexual violence does not take a summer vacation. Whether in our communities or across our borders, sexual violence is an ongoing crisis. We highlight some of these ongoing issues in this quarter’s Frontline as well. The tireless year-round work of the staff at the Dove Center of Garrett County is profiled in this quarter’s Program Spotlight feature. Our Art as Activism feature explores how survivors are increasingly using collaborative art projects to promote both healing and recognition of their experiences. Important updates regarding human trafficking–including the dynamics of trafficking in Maryland and important legislation passed in the last session–is outlined inHuman Trafficking in Maryland: The State of the State.

Finally, we outline key points regarding a major policy issue–the admissibility of past bad acts in sexual assault cases. This issue remains at the forefront of MCASA’s concerns for the coming year, as change is critical for survivors throughout the state.

We urge you to consider joining or donating to MCASA to help us continue our advocacy, policy, and programs work. Your assistance is vital as we fight to create a state that is safe for all. Please continue to join us in our work to end sexual violence.

Best regards,

Lisae

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault


Frontline, Spring 2015 Issue

June 12, 2015

Sexual assault continues to receive unprecedented attention in national media.  Sexual assault in the military, at college campuses, and in prisons have all been in the media spotlight. Awareness of human sex trafficking and sex assault of children has increased.  Survivors of all ages, genders, and backgrounds are being recognized.  Through it all, Maryland’s rape crisis and recovery programs continue to do what they have done for decades:  respond to survivors and educate their communities.  This issue of Frontline spotlights For All Seasons, the sexual assault program serving the mid-Eastern Shore.  We also highlight Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Maryland’s local efforts to educate their communities.

Advocating for the rights of survivors and sexual assault programs in Annapolis is one of MCASA’s most important responsibilities.  This legislative session included passage of a number of important bills.  These include expansion of the protective order statute to cover survivors of sexual assault and dating violence, sponsored by Delegate Kathleen Dumais and Senator Victor Ramirez (and originally introduced by former Senator Chris Shank, the new Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention).  This bill took years to pass and we are glad to see Maryland join the 42 other states with similar laws.  An important bill taking aim at the issue of college sexual assault was also enacted after being introduced by freshman Delegate Shelly Hettleman.  This bill will help strengthen relationships between colleges and sexual assault programs, improve law enforcement response, and help encourage survivors to come forward.  You can learn more about these new policies here, and you can read our full legislative report for more information. We are grateful for all of the legislators and advocates who have worked to make change possible, and for all of the survivors whose courageous testimony helped to shed light on the critical issues at stake.

MCASA is committed to recognizing and countering all sexual violence.  In this issue, we feature two articles on the subject of violence that is frequently overlooked. The first sheds light on physical and sexual violence against members of the transgender community, and how best to ensure that services responding to sexual assault are accessible and welcoming to this community. The second is about online harassment and threats through the social media app Yik Yak.  The recent murder of a Mary Washington student reminds us that this type of harassment must be taken seriously.

At MCASA, we are excited to increase our own capacity to address the needs of underserved populations and are welcoming a new attorney to our staff to work on PREA, the Prison Rape Elimination Act.  Rebecca Turner, Esq., our Inmate Services PREA Liaison, will provide key support for MCASA’s mission to ensure that all of Maryland’s survivors receive quality, compassionate care.  Learn more about PREA, prison rape prevention, and Rebecca’s work in this issue’s Prevention Corner article.

As always, it is a privilege to work on behalf of survivors and the programs and people that support them.  Please join us to ensure that survivors are heard.  Join MCASA.

Let’s keep working together to end sexual violence.

Best regards,

Lisae

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault


 

Frontline, Winter 2015 Issue

January 20th, 2015

This month marks the start of a new term for Maryland’s policymakers. We welcome a new Governor, new administration, and a record number of new legislators. MCASA continues to have an active voice in Annapolis and looks forward to continuing to craft policies to end sexual violence.

On January 22nd at Harry Browne’s, we will be honoring leaders in the anti-sexual violence movement for their work. Delegate Luke Clippinger, from Baltimore City; Rosalyn Branson, the Executive Director of Baltimore’s rape crisis center, TurnAround; and Laura Neuman, a survivor of sexual violence and the former Anne Arundel County Executive, will all be honored with MCASA Visionary Awards. We hope you join us and support our work. For more information regarding this event, visit us here.

This legislative session, we will continue to press forward with bills to limit the parental rights of rapists and to expand protective orders to cover victims of sexual and dating violence. Delegate Eric Luedtke has been working closely with community members in the wake of an incident involving child sexual abuse by a school contractor, which he discusses in “Sexual Assault in the Maryland School System.” MCASA looks forward to working with him on legislation to help improve the laws in this area. We are also continuing to work closely with Delegate Ariana Kelly as the state Planning Committee to Increase Access to Sexual Assault Forensic Examination begins its work. She has continually demonstrated her passion on this issue and expresses her long-time commitment to establishing a hospital-based medical exam system that works for everyone in her article “Stop Putting the Burden On Survivors.”

Our full legislative agenda is on our website. We expect it to grow as the session progresses. Please help us help survivors: we ask all MCASA members and supporters to commit to contacting their legislators at least 3 times during the legislative session. To find your legislator click here, and to sign up for MCASA’s legislative elerts please add your name to our list.

This issue also discusses three major issues facing our communities: child sexual abusesexual violence in religious communities, and revenge porn.

As we continue to address the issue of child sexual abuse and prevention, we encourage you to use our online training program, “Preventing, Identifying, and Reporting Child Sexual Abuse in Maryland.”   This self-paced online course is designed to help Maryland educators and clinicians learn about the effects of child sexual abuse, prevention techniques, and Maryland-specific mandatory reporting requirements.

Finally, this issue’s Program Spotlight highlights the Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program in Montgomery County. This county-based agency serves a wide range of victims of crime, including victims of sexual assault. It is a leader in developing strong responses to immigrant survivors and underserved populations, and its director, Nadja Soares Pereira Cabello was one of MCASA’s founding mothers.

Best wishes for 2015. Hope to see you in Annapolis,

Lisae

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault


 Frontline, Fall 2014 Issue: Sexual Assault Prevention

October 31, 2014

What can we do to prevent sexual violence?

It’s the question we hear from community members, policymakers, educators, and colleagues. In many ways, all of our work touches on prevention.   Perpetrators are punished, in part, to provide deterrence. Protective orders and peace orders are issued to prevent future violence. Even counseling can have a preventative effect as we work with clients to help them set boundaries and recognize abusive behavior.

This issue of Frontline looks at current issues in primary prevention. In the past, prevention efforts often focused on potential victims — primarily women and girls — and employed risk reduction strategies. These techniques sometimes drifted into victim blaming by suggesting that victims who don’t take steps to “reduce risk” are somehow at fault. As advocates have pushed to focus on those responsible for sexual violence, prevention work has targeted potential perpetrators, bystanders, and social norms.

Prevention Corner: The Changing Face of Prevention Education focuses on new prevention resources and campaigns that are happening as we move away from the prevention message “don’t get raped.” Prevention work should respond to the needs of different communities. If campaigns fail to communicate in a way that people hear what is said, they will not be effective. Prevention in the LGBTQIA Community addresses prevention work within the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer/intersex/asexual community.

Law traditionally addresses prevention through criminal and family law, but 19 states have adopted “Erin’s Law.” Erin’s Law requires schools to use an age appropriate curriculum on sexual abuse prevention in pre-k through 12th grade. It educates children on safe touch, unsafe touch, safe secrets, unsafe secrets, how to “get away and tell today.” Maryland traditionally leaves curricular issues to school boards, but we may see movement on Erin’s Law with the start of a new term.

Our regular feature, SafetySync, continues with the theme of prevention by describing theCircleof6 app, a way to seek help if you are in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation.

Finally, this issue’s Program Spotlight highlights the Life Crisis Center on the Lower Eastern Shore. The Life Crisis Center serves Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset Counties. It serves multiple populations including survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse and has an extensive outreach and prevention program. The Life Crisis Center is a leader in the state, never hesitating to speak up when policies need changing or policymakers need to act to help sexual assault survivors.

Please remember to vote next Tuesday and to contact the people we elect to remind them that part of their job is to end sexual violence in Maryland.

Best regards,
Lisae

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault


 Frontline, Summer 2014 Issue: Sexual Assault on Campus

August 15, 2014

1 in 5 women has been sexually assaulted while in college.

This is the startling fact the White House Council on Women and Girls reported in their report, Rape and Sexual Assault:  A Renewed Call to Action.  To increase the nation’s response to this sexual assault, the administration created a Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault, which issued its first report, Not Alone in April.  This report provides important guidance about responding to sexual assault on campuses and has renewed energy for addressing the issue.

Key to an effective response is this mandate:  “Schools should identify trained, confidential victim advocates who can provide emergency and ongoing support.”  Not Alone (2014), p. 11.  Maryland’s 17 rape crisis centers provide this resource.  Since the new reports, our local programs, MCASA, and the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI) have all seen an increase in requests for services, training, and technical assistance.  This issue of Frontline provides information about MCASA and SALI’s work with college campuses, the special issues faced by sports teams and fraternities addressing sexual assault prevention, engaging men in prevention, and the wide array of prevention resources available.

Our legislative update is also included.  Most laws will go into effect this fall on October 1st.  This session saw major improvements to statutes affecting survivors of sexual violence, including enacting a prohibition on rape by proxy, changing the standard of proof in peace orders and protective orders, and creating a planning committee to increase access to sexual assault forensic exams.  Ensuring that the voices of survivors and rape crisis centers are heard in Annapolis is one of MCASA’s chief responsibilities and we are proud of these successes and eager to continue to fight for bills that were not passed.

This issue’s Program Spotlight highlights the Family Crisis Resource Center in Allegheny County.  This comprehensive sexual assault and domestic violence program provides a model for many things – including providing services on a college campus.

We are glad to be able to share their work with others in the field.

Wishing you all a safe start to the new school year.

Best regards,

Lisae

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Prevention Corner- Campus Sexual Assault Prevention
Program Spotlight- Family Crisis Resource Center
SafetySync- Spokeo
MCASA on Campus
SALI on Campus
Engaging Men To Prevent Sexual Assault On College Campuses
A Look at College Athletics and Sexual Assaults
MCASA Legislative Report- A Strong Session for Survivors


Frontline, Winter 2014 Issue: 10 Years of SALI

JANUARY 6, 2014

Ten years ago, MCASA created SALI – the Sexual Assault Legal Institute. It was one of the first and only legal services offices devoted solely to the needs of survivors of sexual assault and abuse. In the fall of 2003, SALI was created with the help of the Violence Against Women Office at the Department of Justice. OVW recognized that, while many victims of domestic violence had access to legal services, there were virtually no services for sexual assault survivors who were not intimate partners of their assailant. The Maryland Legal Services Corporation provided more support by recognizing that child victims also need help and expanding SALI services to victims of child sexual abuse.

SALI has now served over 1500 survivors, educated thousands of professionals about the legal needs of survivors, and helped train the next generation of lawyers through its internship program. This issue of Frontline includes information on legal needs of survivorslaw and prevention, and  some memories from SALI staff. We will honor SALI’s accomplishments and some of the leaders who helped support SALI on January 16th in Annapolis. We invite you to join us.

While you are in Annapolis, we hope you take the time to visit your legislators and remind them that sexual violence is an important public policy issue. In these tough economic times, one of the most important policy issues is continued funding for rape crisis centers. This Frontline highlights the center in Prince George’s County: the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center. State funding is vital to its existence.

One of MCASA’s most important responsibilities is to ensure that the voices of survivors and professionals working with survivors are heard by our policy makers. We have a strong legislative agenda this year. Two of our legislators write about their bills. Senator Brian Frosh explains his proposal to stop internet solicitations of proxy rapists to terrorize people in their homes. Delegate Luke Clippinger describes his bill to close a loophole in Maryland’s laws regarding sexual exploitation of teens. We are grateful that these leaders have shared their proposals with us and look forward to working with them as Maryland’s legislative session gets underway.

Please help us ensure that survivors are heard. Join MCASA and contact your legislators about the issues that matter to you. Together we can continue to help end sexual violence.

Best regards,

Lisae


Frontline, Summer 2013 Issue: Human Trafficking

AUGUST 19, 2013

Human sex traffickers use threats, violence, or coercion to gain power over vulnerable individuals and treat their victims as modern-day slaves. By selling their victims’ bodies, the traffickers are able to make large amounts of money. While laws like the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 are in place to combat this massive crime against human rights, the number of victims of human trafficking continues grow and the MD HT Task Force of which MCASA is a member works hard to combat human trafficking in our state. This issue of Frontline includes articles addressing the topic of human sex trafficking.

In Maryland, two MCASA member sexual assault programs are helping to lead the way in providing services to survivors.  One program, TurnAround, Inc., is in this issue’s Program Spotlight. TurnAround provides services, including shelter, to trafficking survivors in Baltimore City and County and has served countless girls and women since opening its doors in 1978.  On the Eastern Shore, the Life Crisis Center provides services to international human sex trafficking survivors under a contract with the Department of Justice.  Other sexual assault programs are seeking funding to increase services on a local or regional basis.

Human sex trafficking presents new challenges to systemic responses.  An article on Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs) provides guidance about what to consider when addressing the issue within a SART.  Within the legal system, Maryland has made slow incremental progress in state laws.  An article looks at recent legal changes and future plans.

In many respects, human sex trafficking is simply a variation on the same issues MCASA programs have always addressed:  oppression, power & control at the most personal level.  Preventing, responding, and ending human sex trafficking is part of the anti-sexual violence work of MCASA.

Sincerely,

Lisae

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault


Frontline, Spring 2013

APRIL 10, 2013 

Sexual assault survivors deserve strong public policies.  MCASA continues to advocate for survivors and the programs that serve them.

After long and partisan delays, the US Congress finally reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act.  I was honored to represent MCASA at the White House to see President Obama sign this important legislation into law.

Maryland’s legislative session ended on Monday and MCASA has been tracking over 50 bills.  After years of advocacy, the Human Trafficking Asset Forfeiture bill passed and we will have an important new tool to fight sex trafficking.  Other successes include bills to protect privacy, legal services, and crime victims rights.  More information in our legislative wrap-up.

We are now in the midst of the national Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAM), with a flurry of events taking place around Maryland.  MCASA has prepared two SAAM resource webpages – one for the public and one for professionals.  Please read and share them widely in honor of this month when we do more than ever to achieve our mission of ending sexual violence in Maryland.

I invite you to read this issue’s articles that focus on the 2013 SAAM theme: “It’s Time to Talk About It! Talk Early. Talk Often.” With our legislative victories paving the way, now is the time to push education forward to prevent sexual violence.

Sincerely,

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault

This issue’s articles:


Frontline, Winter 2013: Responding to Sexual Violence with Legislation

JANUARY 16, 2013

We look to our legal system to help prevent sexual violence. Criminal laws against rape, human trafficking, child sexual abuse, and other sex crimes are seen as deterrents to violence and sources of justice for survivors. But other aspects of the law are just as important to preventing and responding to sexual violence. Civil laws can also provide protection, choice, and justice.

This issue includes articles by three legislators about their proposals to help respond to sexual violence through changes in our civil laws. Delegate Kathleen Dumais writes about Human Trafficking and how to help stop it by requiring traffickers to forfeit assets. Senator Jamie Raskin is reviving past efforts to give courts the authority to terminate a rapist’s parental rights when a child is conceived as a result of rape. And Senator Chris Shank is responding to the murders of two women in his community by proposing that survivors of dating or sexual violence be allowed to obtain stronger protective orders.

One of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s primary purposes is to help bring the voices of sexual assault survivors to our policy makers, and help those who work with survivors learn more about policies that are being considered. We are grateful that these three leaders have shared their proposals with us and look forward to working with them as Maryland’s legislative session gets underway.

Please help us ensure that survivors are heard. Join MCASA and contact your legislators about the issues that matter to you. Together we can help shape the policies that will end sexual violence.

Best regards,

Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel

This issue’s articles:


Frontline, Fall 2012: How Far We’ve Come

NOVEMBER 7, 2012

In today’s edition of Frontline, we celebrate how far MCASA and the movement against sexual violence has come since 30 years ago. Make sure you sign up to receive Frontline (our quarterly e-newsletter) in your inbox here. If you missed it, you can read all six articles below.

Reports from each of our programs on the highlights of years past and what’s to come:

  • MCASA Women of Color Network, founded 2001 (Link)
  • Sexual Assault Response Systems, founded 2002 (Link)
  • Sexual Assault Legal Institute, founded 2003 (Link)

Member Program Spotlight: Five Questions with Heartly House (Link)

A  look at major accomplishments: Ten Years of MCASA Legislative Advocacy (Link)

A brand new column: Safety Sync: The Intersection of Technology and Sexual Assault (Link)

The newsletter also includes links to our upcoming film screeningmembership information, and donation form.


Frontline, Summer 2012

JULY 13, 2012

I am reminded too often in this position that stereotypes around sexual assault still persist. Vulnerable populations are marginalized by perceptions that sexual assault doesn’t happen to them. Too many believe that rape and sexual abuse don’t happen in their community – not their campus, not their group, not their family, not their church. Yet with hundred of thousands of survivors of sexual violence living in Maryland, you and I know that it does happen in every community, across every class and race and gender.

The invisibility of these survivors enables the epidemic to continue. As service providers we must work especially hard to reach these populations such as male survivors. We have a responsibility not to let the stereotypes we were raised with cloud our committment to ending sexual violence in every community.

Sincerely,

Jennie Boden
Executive Director

This issue’s articles:


Frontline, Spring 2012

MAY 8, 2012

As the debate over the Violence Against Women Act moves to the House, we are reminded daily about what’s at stake — the care and well-being of tens of thousands of sexual assault survivors across our state. We salute the state’s 17 rape crisis and recovery centers and each of you working in the field for your work — providing compassionate, quality care to the survivors that you serve. The articles offered in this quarter’s edition of Frontline, focus on caring for survivors of sexual assault — from legal, systemic and very personal points of view.

We hope that the articles featured in this edition of Frontline inform your efforts to care for the survivors that you serve. Thank you, also, for all that you are doing to end sexual violence across our state. We know that it is often easy to become overwhelemd with the scope of the problem and the depth of its impact. But we remain, like you, committed to putting survivors first.

Warm Regards,

Jennie Boden
Executive Director

This issue’s articles:


Frontline, Winter 2012

JANUARY 19, 2012

A recent, personal experience reaffirmed for me the importance of taking action when you think there’s even a possibility that someone is at risk. I think we all asked the same question after news of the indictments against former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky broke:  How could so many people have stood by and not protected those children?

Like many advocates working in the field, I believe in primary prevention. But until we are able to fully fund and develop effective prevention campaigns, we find ourselves continuing to provide services to survivors of sexual assault and trying to increase awareness so that bystanders will intervene.

How many of our children are at risk today? A recent fact sheet issued by MCASA estimates that there are at least 31,930 cases of child sexual assault annually in our state and national estimates suggest that only 12% of all child sexual assault cases are reported. CLICK HERE to download the fact sheet.

Sincerely,

Jennie Boden
Executive Director

This issue’s articles:


Frontline, Fall 2011

OCTOBER 27, 2011

I attended a meeting recently of advocates from around the country working on primary prevention and several roundtables focused on reaching out to youth. And I was surprised to learn that we have been able to undertake many more initiatives in our state than some of our colleagues across the nation.

While prevention dollars are limited, like funds for everything else, we are fortunate to have a strong, core network of professionals working to address sexual assault on Maryland’s campuses.

Nearly 100 professionals have signed-up for the Mini-college Conference series hosted by the University of Maryland and Bowie State University with support from MCASA so that they can learn more and take their knowledge back to benefit their own institutions.

And the work just begins there.  Whether we work in the legal system, public safety, advocacy, or in education, we all have a role to play in ending sexual violence amongst our youth.  What’s yours?

Sincerely,

Jennie Boden
Executive Director

This issue’s articles:

  • Sexual Violence Prevention: A Student’s Perspective
  • Engaging Youth of Color
  • Surveillance Crimes: Criminals Redress for “Upskirting”, “Downblousing”, and other “Peeping” Violations

Frontline, Summer 2011

JUNE 14, 2011

There’s so much good work being done these days on primary prevention efforts–including our very own Speak Up. Speak Out. campaign.  But when it comes to technology and its inherent dangers, don’t forget that a dose of good old risk reduction can be an asset in staying safe while leveraging all that technology has to offer.

In this issue of Frontline, in addition to an article about the rights of surviviors in Maryland’s criminal process, our staff will also talk about technology, how it can benefit your organization and the survivors that you serve. We’ve evolved from the days when just having a website was enough. Now to stay relevant, many organizations are diving into the social media pool.

For many, technology can be a scary thing.  I know it’s been that way for me.  It was a quick and easy relationship to type and save word documents but everything thereafter has basically been a mystery.

Even though they turned out to be much easier than expected, diving into Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations were off putting for quite a long time.

Sincerely,

Jennie Boden
Executive Director

This issue’s articles:

  • Prevention Corner: Getting Online for Prevention
  • Survivors’ Rights in Maryland’s Criminal Process
  • Running From Technology

Frontline, Spring 2011

MARCH 7, 2011

If you’re a member of law enforcement or of the legal or medical communities, you may be looking at others to do the heavy lifting when April comes around. Even within our organizations, we’re often unsure of who should “own” Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But the truth is that we all do.

It shouldn’t just fall on the shoulders of the education, outreach or prevention specialists on your staff. And it shouldn’t just fall to the coalitions or the rape crisis & recovery centers. It is one of our key roles, to be sure, but this April and indeed every month, we need the concerted effort of everyone working in the field (and even those who don’t) to help end sexual violence in Maryland.

Whether you’re a patrol officer who mentors young men in your neighborhood or a lawyer who with a passionate argument informs a judge’s decision, you are helping to raise awareness about sexual violence in our communities. And we’ll take every bit of help that we can get.

This month, we invite you to learn more about sexual assault awareness, about the important role that you can play in your communities and about how the heavy lifting gets a little lighter if everyone pitches in. Thank you for doing your part to pitch in!

Warmest Regards,

Jennie Boden
Executive Director

This issue’s articles:


Frontline, Winter 2010

NOVEMBER  16, 2010

While much has changed in the last several months–a new Executive Director, new staff members, a new look and innovative website, the key of what has made MCASA strong remains. Our pledge to survivors of sexual assault; our dedication to you, our members and constituents; our obligation to quality programming; and our commitment to impact public policy are all firmly in place.

As this year comes to a close, we offer our thanks to Blaine Hoffmann, Legal Director at Heartly House, who served as the Board’s President during this period of transition. As we look to the future, I know that you will join me in welcoming David Trolio, Coordinator of the Family Violence Programs at the Cecil County Domestic Violence/Rape Crisis Program, who has recently been named as MCASA’s Board President.

We hope you enjoy this new electronic version of the Frontline eNewsletter and this fall issue’s articles from our MCASA Staff…

In closing, we offer our thanks to all of you…for all that you have done in years past and years to come to end sexual violence in our great state. The full Board and Staff at MCASA look forward to the future…toward the strong partnerships that have long been in place and the new ones that linger just around the next corner.

Sincerely,

Jennie Boden
Executive Director

Escape