Meet Your Nonprofit - Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA)

Describe your nonprofit’s mission.
SARA’s mission is to eliminate sexual violence in our community. Our services are provided free to all survivors, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, age, economic status, education, parenthood, physical and/or mental abilities, national origin, immigration/documentation status or any other status.

What need in our community brought about the creation of your nonprofit?
We are the only rape crisis center in this central area to include Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa, Greene, Nelson and the University of Virginia. The non profit started over 40 years ago by a group of individuals who were tired of women being victims of abuse with no where to turn for help.

How has your nonprofit made a difference in our community?
We reach approximately 550 survivors and 1100 middle and high school students each year, as well as hundreds more through our community outreach programs.

How can community members help you achieve your mission?
We are always looking for volunteers to help us at our community outreach events. We also are looking for opportunities to come and speak at community events and with groups and organizations.

Tell us a story that has come out of your work.
Recently, one of our Board members was asked, “What does One in Four represent?” She explained that the name represented the statistic that one in every four college women has survived rape or attempted rape. She went on to discuss the numbers beyond college and even the numbers of men who have survived sexual assaults. As the conversation wrapped up, she was asked, “Are those numbers real?”

Shortly following that conversation, that same Board member had the occasion to be in a room of random citizens from the City of Charlottesville. The group was asked if any of them had been impacted by sexual violence. It was perhaps the first time our Board member had experienced firsthand the reality of the statistics. At least one-third of the room replied “Yes”. Whether the experience was recent or decades old, those who were impacted were visibly shaken by the mere question alone. In that moment, our Board member experienced deep sadness, realizing that the numbers were real and not just statistics. They are friends, colleagues and neighbors in our community.

Leaving that meeting, our Board member realized how fortunate we are to have a resource like SARA and its partners available in the community. She is hopeful that the work of the SARA Direct Services staff will reach survivors and encouraged that the Prevention Staff is discussing healthy relationships and consent with our middle and high school students. The theme this year at SARA’s Annual Award Breakfast was Advocates, Allies and Survivors: Amplifying our Voices. For our Board member, this means going from a whisper to a conversation. Conversation sparks understanding and will encourage more people to engage in a solution.

Learn more about Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA)

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