If volunteering with survivors of sexual assault is your interest, then you aren't alone. In fact April is a great month to get involved with the various organizations working with survivors and law enforcement to raise awareness, educate, and inform about sexual assault.
One great organization, of which I am partial is Rape Victim Advocates in The Loop. Full disclosure, I have been volunteering for them since July of 2012. From RVA's website:
The organization was formed in 1974 by obstetrician/gynecologist Natalie Stephens, M.D., and a group of Northwestern University medical and nursing students concerned about survivors of sexual assault. They recognized that standard hospital resources were not sufficient for the special needs of the survivor. These founding advocates educated themselves about Rape Trauma Syndrome a cluster of physical and emotional responses experienced by nearly all those who experience sexual assault, identified by Burgess and Holmstrom in the course of their work as counselors of survivors of sexual assault at Boston City Hospital, Boston Mass.
In July of 1975, RVA began working with the emergency room staff of a single hospital. The advocates volunteered to be on call in 12 to 24 hour shifts, assuring that, at any given time, a volunteer would be available to serve the survivors of sexual assault. In 2012, RVA is now serving fourteen hospitals in the Chicago area.
RVA isn't the only organization in the city that works with survivors of sexual assault, it is simply the one with which I have had the most experience and I'm partial and they do amazing work. As well as providing emotional support to survivors of assault in the emergency room, during the legal process, and long after with their amazing councilors, RVA facilitates a supportive structure within their volunteer community. With a mentor program, a volunteer committee that plans and hosts get togethers and monthly events to keep volunteers communicating and supporting each other, RVA wants their volunteers to feel supported and appreciated. You can't do better than that.
I will be posting from the various activities going on this month. In the meantime, "Like" RVA on Facebook and check out the calendar of events!
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