(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The YWCA is looking to make a difference for victims of rape and domestic violence through their Rape Crisis program.
Over the weekend the YWCA collected donations at the East Hills Shopping Center to build emergency kits for women who have experienced sexual violence.
According to YWCA volunteer Terra James, when a woman is raped and decides to go to the police or directly to the hospital for a rape kit test, her clothing is confiscated, leaving her in an increasingly vulnerable situation.
“When they collect the clothing, they take them as evidence, so these women either have to call somebody, after going through an event like that, to bring them clothes or they leave in a hospital gown,” James said
When a victim checks into the hospital for testing, the YWCA is notified and brings the kit of necessary items. Each kit contains socks, pants, underwear, a sports bra and a shirt in the victim’s size, as well as hygiene products they may need after the rape kit test.
Volunteers from the YWCA are also trained to provide immediate counseling and guidance for the victims to better understand the resources available to them including long term counseling services and financial assistance.
“A lot of women don’t report, because they don’t want to go through that. Going to the hospital is a fear, it’s expensive. They don’t know those costs are covered. They don’t know what they’re going to be in for. So the YWCA helps women know that they can report, they can get justice, they can get help. And that why it’s so important for people to volunteer and donate and do these kind of things,” James said.
James said the YWCA gives out approximately 75 rape kits each year to women in St. Joseph, but they are anticipating that number to increase in 2018.
To make a donation or volunteer your time contact the YWCA at (816) 232-4481.