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Rape Response packs clothing for sexual assault victims
Junior League aids nonprofit to help those who undergo forensic exams
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Members of Junior League unpack clothes in Gainesville, on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. Rape Response received a grant from Junior League to purchase clothing that will be distributed to rape survivors when they leave the hospital. Volunteers with the Junior League came out to help organize the clothes before distribution. - photo by David Barnes

Gale Adams remembers sitting through trial her first day on the job with Rape Response with a sexual assault victim. She and the nonprofit that serves male and female survivors of sexual assault still keep in touch with that survivor, talking with her once or twice a year.

It’s people like that, and memories of Adams helping her first victim, that make donations from Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County so important. The women’s organization recently awarded Rape Response with a $2,500 grant as part of its “Done in a Day” project.

Rape Response

More info: http://www.raperesponse.com/

“Often, (sexual assault victims) have their clothes taken into evidence at the hospital,” said Adams, direct services coordinator at Rape Response. “So they don’t have anything to wear home.”

Adams said that back in the 1970s and ’80s when sexual assault centers were being established in cities across the country, emergency rooms would have to send sexual assault survivors home in hospital gowns. Not much has changed since then.

“It just made a very difficult situation even more stressful and even more difficult than it needed to be,” Adams said.

With the grant from Junior League, Rape Response was able to purchase plenty of clothes, which were in Amazon boxes Saturday morning. By noontime, the clothes had been organized by size and packed into resealable plastic bags to be delivered to Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

Five Junior League members unpacked black yoga pants and gym shorts, blue short sleeve and long sleeve shirts, sports bras and underwear and laid them across a conference table. They rolled them up to pack in the bags that had sizes written in black permanent marker on the outside.

“I used to intern for the Latin American Association, with their domestic violence section,” said Monica Hatfield, a Junior League member who practices law in Gainesville. “I helped victims of domestic violence get U-Visas, so I thought this would be a good thing to do. That’s why I specifically chose Rape Response.”

The members that signed up for the Rape Response volunteer opportunity all wanted to be part of something that helps the community. More than that, they wanted to be part of something that is sometimes overlooked.

Rape Response served 440 new individuals last year, 199 from Hall County. Of those, 55 were rape survivors who underwent a forensic medical exam. Even if it seems simple after everything they go through, they need clothes when they leave the hospital.

“I work in the hospital and I know people that work with the (sexual assault nurse examiner) program,” said Andrea Burton, a Junior League member and nurse educator. “It’s bad when someone comes in the hospital and doesn’t have any clothes, so we just get them some scrubs. It’s nice to actually make them feel like a human so they’re not leaving exposed.”

The grant from Junior League helped add more clothes to the stock that is distributed to the hospital throughout the year. Without it, Rape Response is left hoping for donations or searching for clothes on clearance at Walmart.

“We’re just happy Junior League did this for us and actually came to volunteer, too,” Adams said. “They help a lot of organizations, so we’re happy to be one of them.”

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