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Press Release: The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Marks Its 45th Anniversary

BARCC's first Take Back the Night march in 1973 in the Boston Fens

Later this month, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) will mark its official 45th anniversary of serving survivors of sexual assault and educating the public. Throughout its anniversary year, BARCC is hosting public events, workshops, and online discussions about how to support survivors and change the culture to end sexual violence.

“The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center was founded in response to a deep need for resources for people who had survived sexual assault,” said BARCC Executive Director Gina Scaramella. “While we have grown to become one of the largest rape crisis centers in the country, our central focus has not changed. Each of our programs has been built in response to the needs of survivors, and survivors are at the center of our work to influence cultural change to reduce sexual violence.”

Many of BARCC’s current programs have existed in some form since the beginning, although they have grown and become more formalized. BARCC’s Community Awareness and Prevention Services originated as speaking engagements by volunteers. BARCC’s Medical Advocacy program—which annually serves approximately 500 people who’ve experienced a recent (within five days) sexual assault—started with women who volunteered to accompany others who’d just been sexually assaulted to the hospital.

Over 45 years, BARCC has grown in response to community needs. In the late 1990s, it launched specialized services for male survivors of sexual violence. In 2010, it launched a prevention program and support services for youth. In 2016, it received a Innovations Award from the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance for its collaborative work to improve youth access to services. Its expert staff has provided guidance to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in methods of primary prevention of sexual violence and collaborates with rape crisis centers throughout the country in developing and sharing best practices in sexual assault treatment and prevention.

BARCC has forged important partnerships with multiple organizations across Massachusetts, including the MBTA, which has resulted in a first-in-the country campaign to address sexual harassment on public transportation. BARCC also promotes systemic and policy changes at local, state, and federal levels through policy initiatives and public education, including offering expert media commentary.

In January, BARCC hosted a Facebook Live discussion, the first in a series, that focused on how the #MeToo movement is changing the culture in previously unimaginable ways—such as a marked willingness in the media to believe survivors who are reporting sexual assaults by high-profile people.

Other 45th anniversary events:

  • Facebook Live discussion Friday, April 6, at 3:00 p.m. ET, featuring survivor speakers from BARCC’s Survivor Speakers Bureau, who will discuss how sharing their stories has influenced their healing and how anyone can embrace their voice to be an ally.
  • 12th Annual Walk for Change at DCR’s Artesani Park in Brighton on Sunday, April 22. The Walk is the largest sexual violence awareness event in New England. Last year, it drew more than 1,700 participants, who raised more than $230,000 for BARCC’s services. Writer and activist Jaclyn Friedman and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley will address the crowd at the pre-Walk rally.
  • Champions for Change Gala & Auction at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel on Friday, November 9, 2018.


About the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC)

Founded in 1973, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center has a mission to end sexual violence through healing and social change. BARCC provides free, confidential support and services to all survivors of sexual violence ages 12 and up and their families and friends throughout Greater Boston. It works with survivors regardless of when the assault occurred, and its goal is to empower survivors to heal and seek justice. BARCC also works with a wide range of organizations and communities, including schools, colleges, and police, to advocate for change. It provides training in how to respond to survivors and create cultures that prevent sexual violence in the first place. Follow BARCC on social media: Twitter @barcc; Instagram @barccofficial; Facebook /

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Jessica L. Atcheson
As BARCC’s marketing and communications manager, Jessica L. Atcheson leads strategies to advance BARCC’s mission and raise its organizational profile. She develops, implements, and evaluates strategic communications initiatives in a variety of online and offline channels.Prior to joining BARCC, Jessica served as the writer and editor at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an international human rights nonprofit. She began her career in nonprofit communications at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, where she worked as associate editor. She has also earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in communication studies from Hamilton College, studied at Oxford University, and served as a survivor advocate through the AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program. She volunteers at the Network/La Red, which works to end partner abuse and support LGBQ/T survivors.

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