Rape-Crisis Center Focus for Kick at Darkness

Our mission at Kick at Darkness is to make sure that no survivor ever has to pay for their own healing. A HUGE piece of that hurdle is a survivor being able to FIND the resources for healing. In Arizona, we have a desperate need: there is no 24/7 access point for survivors to get help.

Statistics on Sexual Assault

The national statistics on sexual assault are mindnumbing. According to RAINN.org, one in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. One person is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds.

What about Rape Crisis Centers?

Most states have rape crisis centers to help these survivors 24/7. This means no matter the day or time, a victim and their supports can get immediate help and advocacy.

Currently in Arizona:

  • Survivors can go to a Family Advocacy Center to get a medical forensic exam, receive advocacy, and/or report their sexual assault to law enforcement during business hours (M-F / 8-5)
  • In some parts of Arizona, trauma and crisis teams are available (may or may not be on site) and can be deployed 24/7 without being on-call
  • Survivors and their support might NOT be able to drive themselves to get help (depending on the situation, they may be treated as evidence by law enforcement); A victim-centered practice would be to provide transportation options to the victim
  • Survivors may not have access to long-term advocacy or case management, support groups, or trauma-informed therapy
  • There is so much more benefit in having all resources and systems for survivors available at ALL hours, versus what is currently provided (M-F / 8-5)

Currently, in Arizona, there are ZERO 24/7 rape crisis centers, and there are NO crisis centers that solely focus on sexual assault.

There are organizations that are dual and, in part, assist survivors of sexual assault. Separately, there are organizations and medical facilities that work with the emergency & evidence side of the assault. No one, however, focuses on this VAST need and houses both pieces required 24/7: advocacy and medical.

A Rape Crisis Center is not part of the criminal justice system so it can be more focused on advocacy and healing. A Rape Crisis Center would work in partnership with FACs to provide medical forensic exams. Sometimes rape crisis centers will employ SANEs or offer medical forensic exams, but this is generally not their main purpose.

The main gap a rape crisis center fills in Arizona is providing free, long-term services in the community.

  • Right now, there is extremely little long-term advocacy or advocacy for survivors coming forward years after an assault
  • There is also a significant gap in sexual-assault-specific support groups and free trauma-informed therapy (though some organizations do provide this, their waitlists are months long)

In contrast: California has over 80 rape crisis centers that are 24/7 and focused on sexual assault. Texas has over 75 (the first built in the 70s).

Resources Sharing Project Has: Characteristics of a Rape Crisis Center

  • 24/7 Crisis Intervention, either through a hotline or in-person
  • 24/7 trauma-informed advocacy
    • This advocacy would be
      • Medical accompaniment
      • Legal advocacy
      • General advocacy
    • Advocacy would be available to anyone who has experienced sexual violence, regardless of whether the assaulted happened yesterday or 10 years ago
  • Support groups for survivors of sexual violence
  • Free counseling and trauma-informed therapy for survivors
  • Prevention education in the community

Arizona isn’t without ANY help, as the network of organizations in place to help survivors is massive across Arizona … HOWEVER:

  • They are available business hours: M-F, 8-5 (no after hours or weekends, unless grants cover on-call teams, which should be able to meet with a survivor within one hour of receiving the call)
  • They are difficult to find and the lists are hard to sort through
  • Some of the groups have put together overnight on-call teams, but their numbers and info are not well known or readily available across Arizona (even to those who are IN the field of helping survivors)
    • Other organizations have developed hotlines for chat, but these are limited by the grant funding and what regions they can help people based on the grant specifications
    • ACESDV’s helpline and chat option is available to all of Arizona; they are not limited regionally, based on the scope of their grant
    • RAINN.org has a national hotline, but their backlog has been heavy since the start of the #metoo movement — which is exceptional news as survivors are reaching out for help; it cannot be relied on for a way to get assistance for our survivors here

KAD’s Multi-Phase Goals to Change the World in Arizona

Full disclosure: this is not BUILD a legacy … implying we have tools, equipment, or parts of a whole to put together.

This is the START. We are forming the creation. We need those who are strong and courageous enough to join the team, to fight and start a legacy for future generations: to change the world.

First Phase: APP

We want to rally team members to help connect current applications by building an easy-to-use interactive app that unites all the current organizations and tools across AZ. Our goal is to connect what is ALREADY present, and not reinvent anything (i.e. apps like AskAZRapeCrisisCounseling.org, 211 AZ, or sites with volumes of helpful information like ACESDV).

Many sites have long lists of resources for survivors, but it is simply not functional for survivors and their supports to navigate through when in emotional crisis. It’s difficult enough for advocates to find what they need.

With the app, our goal is that anyone would be able to find the closest survivor-helping:

  • Organization
  • Medical facility
  • Advocacy center
  • Hotline
    • By unifying the multi-organizations’ hotlines and interconnecting them to cover all the sections of need

Second Phase: Rape Crisis Center

After the app is networking all the current services in Arizona, we aim to raise our community up and start a sexual-assault focused 24/7 Rape Crisis Center. NOTE: at one time, Arizona did have a rape crisis center, but we no longer have a standalone center to help survivors of sexual assault.

This will be a physical brick-and-mortar building. Watch for future plans and exciting updates on this to come.

Are You a Badass Warrior and You Want to Help Us Achieve This App Being Built to Change the Future for Survivors in Arizona?