Wonder what you’re supporting when you Walk for Change? First and foremost, you’re supporting survivors on their journey of healing and hope. But you’re also raising critical funds and awareness of BARCC’s services for survivors of sexual violence.
Our work with survivors and their loved ones extends to people of all genders, sexualities, races, religions, abilities, income levels, and ethnicities. We have worked with hundreds of thousands of survivors, loved ones, and community members since 1973. We’ve been meeting the unique needs of male survivors for more than 20 years, as well as those of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and transgender communities.
It does not matter if the assault was 20 years ago or two months ago. It is never too late for any survivor to seek services at BARCC. These include our confidential 24-7 phone hotline, as well as online chat availability from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Hotline volunteers support people in all stages of their experience, providing emotional support, explaining the reporting process, and detailing the services we provide—which include having an advocate at the hospital during a sexual assault exam—and offering referrals for services outside of BARCC.
Thanks to your efforts, our services don’t stop there. Because of the money raised by walkers like you, we are also able to offer individual and group counseling to help survivors process and heal from sexual violence. We provide short-term individual, couples, family, and group counseling with licensed clinicians and trained counselors. You make it possible for our legal advocates to help survivors understand their legal rights and options, and navigate the civil and criminal justice systems, including campus processes. Our lawyers and advocates also assist with ongoing harassment or stalking. They advocate for survivors’ privacy and safety in every aspect of their life. If survivors need legal representation, we connect them with an appropriate legal resource. And our case managers provide support to survivors who are dealing with health, housing, and financial challenges.
None of this is possible without your dedicated efforts and the contributions of your generous friends and families.
As the #MeToo movement keeps the media and the public’s attention on the scourge of sexual violence—and its aftermath—the services you make available are in more demand than they ever have been. Right after reports about Harvey Weinstein’s sexually assaultive behavior were made public in October 2017, prompting Alyssa Milano to send a tweet that reignited Tarana Burke’s #MeToo movement for survivors, requests for services from BARCC spiked. They have not slowed since.
Before #MeToo, BARCC routinely received 10–20 requests for service each week. A request for service isn’t a hotline call, it’s a specific ask for help from an individual in need of counseling, legal advocacy, or case management. There are no easy fixes for these requests, and they frequently lead to a lengthy partnership with BARCC as the survivor begins a journey to healing.
The week Milano sent out her #MeToo tweet, we got a little over 30 requests for services. Bill Cosby’s guilty verdict prompted another 50. We fielded 55 requests for services the week after the state of Pennsylvania’s issued its report on Catholic clergy sexual abuse.
Christine Blasey Ford’s report of being sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh prompted another wave of calls for help. On the morning she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee—a Thursday—BARCC answered an average day’s worth of hotline calls by 11:00 a.m. The higher than usual volume of hotline calls continued throughout the weekend. Meanwhile, the following week, we received 70 requests for service.
BARCC simply could not meet this surge in demand for our services without the support of the hundreds of Walk for Change participants who come together every year to support survivors, raise awareness of sexual assault and harassment, and fundraise for BARCC. No matter what, we are committed to serving everyone who takes the brave step of reaching out for help.
As Lori, one of our survivor speakers, has said, “Knowing you are helping people like me every day for free—it means the world to me. No one should have to worry about how they are going to pay for services while taking the brave step to even seek help for such a traumatic event in their lives.”
Everyone can play a role in ending sexual violence. Please join us at the Walk for Change on Sunday, April 28, at DCR’s Constitution Beach in East Boston (a new location!) and take a few steps to do just that.
Register today and check out our fundraising tips!