It’s on all of us to end sexual violence in our communities.
To say COVID-19 upended our lives would be an understatement. A year into the pandemic and we are still seeing and feeling the loss of our everyday lives, our everyday routines.
The loss of a favorite pastime. The loss of a favorite date night restaurant. The loss of seeing friends and hugging our families. The loss of spontaneous meetups and social connections. The loss of regular office hours, of the routine workday, of last-minute trips to the grocery store on a weeknight. For those living in violence, these essential losses of independence have been even more significant.
When the world stopped, so too did our crisis line. Not to say we stopped answering—people stopped calling. As soon as quarantining went into effect, our advocates began seeing an eerily quiet phone line. Survivors were now trapped at home with the person abusing them. All of the everyday, mundane actions—going to work, picking up that one ingredient, dropping a child off at practice—activities that would have given survivors a reprieve and perhaps even a chance to make a phone call, were no longer options.
This pandemic has shown just how dire a violent home situation can become when the rest of the world is already struggling to protect itself from a threat. It has also shown that the pandemic did not create the problem of violence in our communities, but rather exacerbated an existing crisis—one that, like the pandemic, will take great effort on all our parts to end.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an important time for us at MCVP to reach out to you, to invite you to join us in the vital effort to end violence in our communities. It doesn’t have to be big, and it can fit right into your new COVID-19 routine. You can talk to a loved one in your life about what a healthy relationship looks like to you. You can call out victim-blaming language when you hear it. You can share a post about sexual violence prevention online—you never know who needs to see it. You can donate to MCVP or other organizations working to end violence. You can volunteer—even virtually! It will take a collective effort from everyone to stand up against violence.
In 2020, advocates provided 9,498 services to 691 survivors. Additionally, we sheltered 33 individuals, including children. With schools moving into unchartered territory, our educators still reached 2,122 students with in-person and virtual learning.
By Megan Fulton, Development Director & Kim Johnston, AmeriCorps VISTA