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Vera House Stands For and With Survivors

Vera House Stands For and With Survivors

This week has been tumultuous. We’ve had people on both sides of the political spectrum accuse us of being partisan and/or label our actions as not being true to our mission.  We believe our actions have been non-partisan and core to our mission. Below are some talking points.


Judge Kavanaugh’s Nomination

On Monday, Vera House staff participated in a national walkout to support Dr. Ford, who is scheduled to testify this week. We stood as an ally for survivors. Survivors MUST know that they can find safety, hope and healing at Vera House.

Regardless of your political leanings, if you care about individuals and have compassion, you must realize that the treatment towards Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and subsequent accusers is incomprehensible. After Dr. Ford came forward and accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault years prior, her life has been turned upside down.  Unfortunately, this is also the reality of many of the survivors that come to Vera House to seek support and the fear of those who don’t reach out for help.  We believe our message on this should be:

  • Vera House stands for and believes survivors, plain and simple. This is our position.
     
  • Most survivors don’t report their abuse right away for a variety of reasons: denial, they feel ashamed, they are afraid of not being believed, they blame themselves, and they are fearful of potential victim blaming messages. Some survivors may never report their abuse.
     
  • The messages in response to Dr. Ford and other accusers reinforces the fears that survivors have about sharing their experiences.  Survivors are subjected to national leaders and people across the county disbelieving victims, while at the same time saying, “even if it did happen, it is not that big a deal, ‘boys will be boys’, etc.”
     
  • The conversations that we are having now are important and will pave the way for how society treats survivors when they come forward to disclose their abuse in the future.
     
  • Silence is complacency. If Vera House, as an agency that helps victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and elder abuse does not speak up, who will? It is our responsibility to listen to survivors and believe what they say.
     
  • We recognize the possibility that sexual assault allegations can be false, but we know that false accusations are a very small percentage of reports, and we always start by believing.
     
  • It you or someone you know is triggered and needs help or support, please call our 24-hour support & information line at (315) 468-3260.


VAWA News Conference with Congressman Katko

On Tuesday, Vera House hosted a press conference with Congressman John Katko to discuss the importance of a long-term reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is set to expire at midnight on Sunday and the timely passage is integral to the work of Vera House and could mean the difference between life and death for certain individuals.

It was important that Vera House stood with Congressman Katko.  

  • Earlier this month, Congressman Katko, joined by 45 of his Republican colleagues, led a GOP letter urging Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to pass a bipartisan measure to reauthorize VAWA.
     
  • Since being signed into law in 1994, VAWA has helped to protect and support millions of Americans who have faced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
     
  • VAWA has helped Vera House receive more than $1 million in funding over the last decade to support our programs and services.
     
  • Specifically, VAWA funding has ensured that Orders of Protection are valid across state lines, provided immigrants and refugees access to legal services, has aided us in developing elder abuse response programs, and has helped us engage men and youth in conversations about preventing violence before it occurs.
     
  • It is our fervent hope that both parties in Congress will act immediately to pass a bill and thereby reassure victims and survivors across the nation that they truly matter.

If you have questions or would like to discuss this further, please email info@verahouse.org.
 

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