Breaking Barriers, Helping Victims

COLUMBIA, SC – Eighty percent of victim assistance websites in the 16 US states with the largest Hispanic populations do not have any information in Spanish, according to a recent study conducted by Arte Sana and ALAS, two national organizations advocating for Latina survivors of sexual violence. This leaves the 1 out of every 6 Latinas in the US that will be sexually assaulted during their lifetimes without vital information and services in Spanish.

Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM) partnered with the USC School of Law’s Pro Bono Program to translate the website material to Spanish. Poieo Design created the website structure and design. STSM is currently the only rape crisis center in South Carolina with a bilingual website, which went live this week.

“On behalf of Arte Sana, its board of directors and ALAS (the national Latina alliance against sexual violence) I would like to applaud Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands for being the first rape crisis center in South Carolina to translate its website to Spanish. Considering that the Hispanic/Latino population grew 148% during the past 10 years in SC (2010 US Census report) their translated website is indeed a proactive move! Because of this effort, many more of the 235,000 residents who self-identify as Hispanics/Latinos and navigate the internet from SC will be made aware of critical services offered in Spanish. Our goal is for all victim assistance centers to eliminate language barriers for victims/survivors, their loved ones, and community members who want to join efforts to end sexual violence,” said Laura Zárate, Founding Executive Director of Arte Sana, the leading Latina sexual assault organization in the US.

In 2010, researchers at Northeastern University and Penn State found that only three out of every 100 Latina sexual assault survivors ever receive help specifically relating to the abuse. "STSM strives to decrease barriers experienced by marginalized communities. Sexual violence can happen to anyone, regardless of race/ethnicity, class, gender, or sexual orientation. Having a bilingual website is one of our many efforts to make sure all survivors of sexual assault are aware of their rights and the services available to them," explained Genevieve N. Waller, Esq., STSM's Executive Director.

The bilingual website can be accessed at STSM is also scheduled to release a 10-minute Spanish-language video entitled “De Víctima a Sobreviviente” (From Victim to Survivor), which can be found on the website after October 27, 2011.

Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands Launches Bilingual Website

Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM), formerly named Rape Crisis Network, is a private, nonprofit, United Way member agency committed to providing free, direct services to survivors of sexual assault and abuse, including 24-hour crisis hotline, hospital accompaniment, court accompaniment, personal advocacy, individual and group counseling, and education about sexual trauma issues.