April Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Assistance League of Kansas City collaboration with MOCSA and MADI
Definition of Assault:
noun: a sudden violent attack; an unlawful physical attack upon another;
an attempt to do violence to another
Definition of Survivor:
noun: a person that continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition or setbacks;
to carry on despite hardships or trauma; to persevere
Definition of Assault Survivor:
Is there a clear definition of an Assault Survivor? One could say there will be as many definitions as there are victims. Each individual of sexual assault will experience and recover differently. Most will need help with that recovery process. Most will need comfort and care. All need to feel that they are not alone, that there is someone that will assist them in their time of need.
Assistance League of Kansas City recognized and stepped up to fulfill that need. In February of 1997, the ASSAULT SURVIVOR KITS® program was adopted to provide personal care items for sexual assault victims that were being seen in local hospital emergency rooms. In 2014-2015 our kits were able to provide comfort to 890 assault victims. The contents of the Assault Survivor Kits are purchased and assembled by member volunteers of Assistance League and delivered to Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), whose own volunteers then provide them to individuals that are identified at area hospitals. The Assault Survivor Kits contain new clothing, (a pair of fleece pants, a comfortable shirt, sports bra and underwear), personal hygiene items and an informational book “Recovering from Rape” by Linda E. Ledray R.N., PH.D. to help these individuals, whose garments are retained by police for evidence, to leave the hospital comfortably and with dignity. It is worthy to note that Assistance League of Kansas City is the only organization in the metro area providing this type of support to MOCSA.
In November of 2015, Assistance League of Kansas City was fortunate to meet and become community partners with Make a Difference Intimate (MADI) Apparel. For every pair of underwear sold by MADI, they donate a pair to a woman in need. The generous donation of their high quality underwear has been a welcome addition to our ASSAULT SURVIVOR KITS. To date 150 pair have been donated to our organization. The founder of MADI Apparel reports that recently a MOCSA volunteer shared how she witnessed two women cry after seeing and feeling how NICE the pairs of underwear were in the kits. They were so emotional in a positive way because the underwear donations made them feel special, beautiful and comfy. “That made us feel like our partnership with MOCSA and the Assistance League of Kansas City is so wonderfully important to the community”.
From Hayley B, founder of MADI Apparel: I heard a shocking statistic – that UNDERWEAR IS THE MOST NEEDED, UNDER-DONATED ITEM OF CLOTHING IN THE U.S. I did a little research with friends and started calling homeless shelters to follow up with this statistic. The homeless shelters suggested that we reach out to domestic violence shelters, as they are always looking for new underwear donations. The pieces matched up. We could help in such a simple way. Underwear is on the urgent needs list at almost every domestic violence and homeless shelter. Not only would underwear donations make a woman feel clean, but they would help bring back confidence.
“The staff at MOCSA is always grateful for Assistance League of Kansas City and their Assault Survivor Kits program. There is no other agency that fulfills this need,” MOCSA says “Thank you so much for all you do in helping us provide the best service we can to survivors of sexual violence.”
A MOCSA volunteer made this comment, “The kits are an important part of the healing process.”
From a survivor: “I am very grateful for the clothes, the police took mine.”
From a survivor: “I like this, it is so nice. The clothes are so comfortable.”
Another survivor stated that she was “very grateful for the toiletries.”
Together…making our community better
Karen Mollohan, Public Relations Chairman