By Audrey Haberman, CEO, The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation
I spent the early part of my career working in the field of sexual assault prevention, and I am proud that our foundation feels a responsibility to raise awareness about sexual violence and its many forms, support community efforts to prevent it, and ensure that all sexual assault survivors have access to services and support. Recent reporting that the Seattle Police Department’s sexual assault and child abuse unit stopped assigning detectives to new cases this year highlights the need for community efforts, advocacy, and awareness – and that we all must do more.
We stand with survivors – and we are committed to helping support the organizations in our community who do critical work every single day to serve survivors and their families, to remove barriers, and hold systems accountable.
This belief drives our support of organizations like The Rape Foundation, which promotes and helps sustain state-of-the-art treatment for victims and innovative prevention and education programs. Their voice, advocacy, and expertise was critical in helping eliminate the Los Angeles Police Department’s backlog of rape kits and to reforming rape kit testing in Los Angeles. The innovative 24-hour emergency and follow-up care Clinic that we helped them create to serve the special medical, forensic, and crisis intervention needs of sexual assault victims is now a national model.
Since 2014, we have also supported the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, which serves survivors and their families throughout King County and engages communities in building a world without sexual assault. With their expertise, they work to give voice to and empower survivors, their families, and communities, create change in beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors about sexual violence, including gender-based violence, shape statewide policy, and ensure survivors and their families can speak out about sexual assault and other connected forms of oppression such as racism, disability justice and homophobia.
We invest to sustain their critical work to provide trauma-specific, evidence-based therapy to help survivors of sexual assault heal, and to offer services to parents and caregivers of children or adolescents who are enrolled in KCSARC’s trauma-specific therapy program.
Those vital services have supported parents like Stephanie and her three children during their recovery – and as their family discovered what she calls her family’s ‘new normal.’ You can read about Stephanie’s experience and support KCSARC here.
“Serving survivors and their families across King County is only possible through the support and commitment of our entire community. We are grateful to the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation for their longtime support of our work in King County,” said Mary Ellen Stone, Chief Executive Officer, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center. “The Foundation’s commitment is one reason why we’re here 24/7 with support and information to empower survivors and their loved ones.”
KCSARC’s 24-hour Resource Line is always available with free, confidential support for survivors, the community, and anyone who needs a safe place to talk. If you or a loved one need support, you can reach their Resource Line 24 hours a day at 1.888.998.6423.