Why I Give: A letter from Board Member Wendy Fuess

When I was a freshman in college, I was trained to work as a volunteer for a rape crisis hotline on my campus. That still did not stop me from being the victim of a near date rape on that very same campus. I was only spared by a strong set of lungs (in a dorm room with paper-thin walls) and the sheer luck of a blind kick that fell right on target. Still, the entire episode was traumatic, and although intellectually I knew better, I did not report the assault. I wonder to this day how many other victims he has had.

Many years later, a friend confessed to me that her daughter had been raped her freshman year at college. Her daughter reported the rape to campus authorities, which only exacerbated the situation, as she ended up transferring schools while her attacker remained there, unpunished. She did not seek help in dealing with her feelings, and both mother and daughter continue to suffer to this day.

When I met Ginny Waller, executive director of Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, at my Rotary Club meeting in 2011 and heard her speak, I knew I had to get involved. I consider it a blessing and a privilege to serve on STSM's Board of Directors, raise funds for the agency, donate my own money, walk a mile in my own shoes, and generally advocate for the important work that staff and volunteers do across the Midlands every single day. My next step is to be trained as a volunteer to go on hospital emergency assistance calls. 

Though STSM's statistics are impressive, for me it is about the people helped. It is about the children, young adults, middle-aged and senior citizens, male and female, gay and straight, who are transformed from victims to survivors. It is also about breaking the cycle of sexual violence in the home, the workplace, and especially on college campuses.

I hope by reading this you will feel compelled to give what you can. Do it for yourself, your parents, your spouse, your children, and your friends.

Every dollar you give makes a difference! For only $25, new clothing can be provided to at least two survivors at the hospital. A gift of $50 will cover the cost of an individual counseling session. For $100, a counselor can accompany a survivor in court and assist with a police report. A gift of $250 will allow 30 students to participate in STSM's six-week prevention education program. A $500 donation covers services for one survivor for six months.

Please give today! CLICK HERE to donate online, or mail your check to STSM. Thank you for caring and for making a difference.