FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2014
DC Justice for Survivors Campaign (DC JSC)
Grassroots Campaign Delivers Over 300 Signatures Demanding Reforms to Protect Survivors of Sexual Assault in DC
Washington, D.C. — The DC Justice for Survivors Campaign (DC JSC) today strongly urged DC Council to support critical legislation to protect survivors of sexual assault. The Campaign is a rapidly growing coalition of 19 advocacy and other organizations as well as over 300 individual community members from all parts of the District. “The volume of people that are continuing to join the Justice for Survivors Campaign shows that the DC community puts survivors first,” said Susan Mottet, DC JSC organizer and President of National Organization for Women, DC Chapter (DC NOW). “DC Council should do the same by adopting DC JSC’s recommendations to strengthen the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act of 2013 (SAVRAA) and passing the bill as soon as possible.”
The DC JSC was established this past year in response to recent evidence of police mismanagement of sexual assault cases in the nation’s capital.The grassroots group is dedicated to passing legislation to ensure the fair and just treatment of all those who report sexual assault in the District.
“The DC JSC has seen widespread community support for the three vital measures needed to improve the Sexual Assault Victim’s Right Amendment Act,” said Sherelle Hessell-Gordon, a DC JSC organizer and Executive Director of the DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC). These measures include that the DC Council: 1) Ensure a survivor’s right to a victim advocate without exception; 2) Establish an external sexual assault case review process; and 3) Require an independent consultant to assist MPD with the implementation of reforms.
The 301 individuals that have joined the DC JSC represent a diverse spectrum of the DC and surrounding communities, including direct service providers, anti-violence professionals, women’s and LGBT health advocates, concerned residents from all eight DC Wards, and over 80 self-identified survivors of sexual assault. Support also comes from the following 19 local and national organizations: The As One Project; Break the Cycle; Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS); The DC Center for the LGBT Community; Defend Yourself; DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC); Everyday Feminism; Fem2pt0; FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture; Law Students for Reproductive Justice of American University; Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, Inc.; National Association of Social Workers (NASW); DC Metro Chapter; National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO); National Organization for Women, DC Chapter (DC NOW); Pious Pagan Publishing; Ramona’s Way; Slutwalk D.C; Stop Street Harassment and Washington College of Law’s Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“The act of sexual assault is one of the most heinous crimes ever committed,” said Julia Strange, a DC JSC organizer and Director of Programs and Policy for Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS). “The passage of SAVRAA along with DC JSC’s amendments will determine whether survivors who report their assault can begin the process of healing and obtaining justice or whether they will be re-victimized by the very public safety infrastructure intended to support them,” said Strange.
The DC Justice for Survivors Campaign (DC JSC) is a grassroots coalition of sexual assault survivors, direct service providers, advocacy organizations, allies and community members working to increase and codify the rights of and improve services for survivors of sexual assault in the District of Columbia. Formed by Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), the DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC) and National Organization for Women, DC Chapter (DC NOW), the DC JSC believes that sexual assault survivors must receive fair and compassionate treatment from first responders, service providers and members of law enforcement and the justice system. We believe there should be greater transparency by agencies and organizations that work with survivors of sexual assault to reduce revictimization.