Harvey Weinstein… Kevin Spacey… Al Franken… Roy Moore…
The list of powerful men accused of sexual violence seems to grow longer every day. Everyone is talking about sexual harassment and assault right now, but MCASA has been fighting for survivors for over 40 years, and we couldn’t do what we do without your help and support. It is truly an amazing moment in history that so many survivors feel comfortable coming forward and saying ‘Enough!’ We owe it to these brave survivors, and to every survivor, to seize this moment and make some real change.
Every one of us can do something to contribute to eliminating sexual violence right here in Maryland, right now. You can help survivors by supporting your local rape crisis center and the vital programs and services they provide in your community. You can become a member of MCASA and attend our legislative reception on January 18, 2018. You can educate yourself about sexual assault and learn more about how it impacts all of us. Let’s not waste this opportunity to create genuine change that will help today’s survivors of sexual harassment and assault and help prevent it tomorrow. The time is now.
Some change is already happening here in Maryland, as 2017 saw several changes to our laws that support sexual assault survivors and the programs that serve them. As of October 1st, several new laws have gone into effect that will better support survivors in our state. One of the significant changes to the law is an amendment to our rape statutes clarifying that a victim is never required to physically resist an assault in order for it to be prosecuted. Thanks to the Sexual Assault Victims Resources Act of 2017, rape crisis centers will receive increased funding to help them better serve survivors in their communities. These, along with several other new laws, are positive steps towards creating a better response to sexual violence in our state. And for a preview of next year’s priorities, click here.
As part of MCASA’s work, we advocate for survivors on campus and believe that Maryland’s colleges and universities should stand with sexual assault survivors. In our College Consortium feature, we unpack the Department of Education’s recent changes to Title IX guidance and what implications these changes may have for survivors on campus. MCASA additionally prioritizes the promotion of primary sexual violence prevention efforts. In this quarter’s Prevention Corner, we explore a new prevention program, ‘Athletes As Leaders,’ which works to engage young, female athletes in prevention efforts. The program empowers young girls and challenges the factors that perpetuate violence in our society. In this issue, we also discuss the importance of cultural humility in the field of sexual violence prevention and response.
In every issue of Frontline, we showcase the great work being done by our local sexual assault programs here in Maryland. Our Program Spotlight this quarter highlights the efforts of Walden-Sierra, Inc. of St. Mary’s County, and their critical programs and services for survivors of sexual assault.
As always, we thank you for your continued support of MCASA’s work. If you are interested in joining us in the fight to end sexual violence in Maryland, consider becoming a member of MCASA. Together, we can work towards ending sexual violence in our state.
Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault