By the Rev. Amy Gopp and the Rev. Dr. Sally MacNichol
n Collin County, Texas, Dr. Christy Sim works diligently to serve the needs of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. In fact, it’s not yet midday on a Tuesday, and her team at Stronger Than Espresso have already successfully connected two survivors to agencies for crisis support.
“We stand on the line between the faith community and the civil/social spaces funded by the Office on Violence Against Women who provide crisis care,” said Sim, the Executive Director of Stronger Than Espresso. The office administers grant programs established under the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA. “Our community partners, who are funded by VAWA, provide an access to emergency services for people. Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault really need these crisis services.”
These services include 24-hour hotlines for providing immediate safety and active listening for those in crisis; emergency shelter and accommodations for families fleeing violence; basic needs such as food, resources and clothes; crisis intervention work; personal advocacy for survivors trying to navigate the medical, court and legal systems; and supportive counseling.
Now this critical help afforded to survivors is at great risk.
The Rev. Amy Gopp is the vice president for External Relations for IMA World Health and the Rev. Dr. Sally MacNichol is the co-executive director for CONNECT. Both organizations are members of the We Will Speak Out U.S. alliance to end sexual and gender-based violence.