A while back I criticised Karl du Fresne’s attacks on ACC helping to fund the counselling and support of people recovering from sexual abuse.
And of course more recently, ACC pulled their funding of the only 24 hour crisis line service operating in central Auckland for victims and survivors of sexual violence.
What does this mean? I’m not overstating Mr du Fresne’s influence – there are always those willing to deny the horrific nature of sexual violence – which, by definition, leads us to a place of being able to systematically underfund services which work with victims and survivors.
If it isn’t really happening, why pay to help people recover?
What it means though, is the 8,500 people who called that line last year – to talk about what happened to them, to ask for help, to find out how to support their family member or friend, to ask for an advocate to support someone through the police process, to try and deal with the flashbacks they are having which are stopping them sleeping/eating/functioning, to talk about their self-harming or suicidal thoughts – well, those 8,500 Aucklanders may have no service available to them very soon.
Services in Aotearoa are patchy, with some communities offering no support for victims and survivors at all. One of the responsibilities of the Taskforce on Sexual Violence is to examine real, sustainable funding for agencies helping individuals and families recover from sexual violence.
So all this brings me to ask you Wellington based people to come collecting for local services this year. You can spend as little as an hour helping Wellington Rape Crisis out – not only with gathering money needed to continue running their services, but by raising the profile of sexual violence in Wellington.
At the moment, women can drop in off the street and talk to qualified advocates and counsellors at Wellington Rape Crisis. Male victims receive telephone support and referrals to specialist counselling. Email support and advocacy with other agencies is available to all. WRC will also work with families – because sexual violence has an impact not only on individuals, but on wider relationships. Would you know how to support your partner if they were raped?
Wellington Rape Crisis provides community education and contribute to community programmes to prevent sexual violence. Give them some time and energy on July 3rd if you can spare it.