This month’s partner spotlight is on BARCC (the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center) — the only rape crisis center in the Greater Boston area.
Q: Why was BARCC founded?
A: The second oldest rape crisis center in the country, BARCC was founded in 1973 in the Cambridge Women’s Center by a group of volunteers dedicated to building a hotline to answer calls from survivors of sexual assault. Since its beginning as a hotline, it has grown into a national leader in the field. We empower survivors of sexual violence to heal and provide education and advocacy for the social change needed to prevent sexual violence.
Q: What is one thing that people can do to help or support a loved one or friend who discloses that someone has sexually assaulted them?
A: It is important to listen to and believe the survivor. Help them understand the sexual assault was not their fault, and affirm their decision to confide in you. Finally, know where to turn to for more assistance — offer the survivor resources (like BARCC) to learn more about options available. And you can seek support with your own processing as you help a loved one or friend, too.
Q: What is a common misconception about sexual assault?
A: One common misconception we hear is about who is perpetrating assaults. In many media portrayals of sexual assault, the perpetrator is often a stranger, when in reality 70% of all sexual assault survivors know their attacker1.
Q: What are some resources BARCC offers to survivors of sexual assault?
A: BARCC provides free, confidential support and services to survivors of sexual violence ages 12 and up and their families and friends. We work with survivors regardless of when the violence occurred, and our goal is to empower survivors to heal. We also work with a wide range of organizations and communities, including schools, colleges, and police, to advocate for change. We provide training in how to respond to survivors and create cultures that prevent sexual violence in the first place. Our direct services include 24-7 hotline services, 24-7 medical advocacy to support survivors at the hospital, legal advocacy, case management, and short-term counseling.
Q: How do you see the RapidSOS technology helping BARCC’s mission?
A: RapidSOS is an great supplementary tool to aid in safety planning with survivors of sexual assault. We know that reporting to the police is a personal choice for survivors, and through partnering with RapidSOS technology, we’re able to offer tailored ways (through texting, calling, or family connect) that survivors can reach out to law enforcement for urgent safety concerns.
1Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2010-2014 (2015).
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