STSM Applauds Override of Veto 51

COLUMBIA, SC - Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM) applauds the South Carolina Legislature for voting overwhelmingly to override Veto 51, which would have cut funding to sexual assault agencies across the state and jeopardized prevention programs and crucial direct services for victims.  The Senate voted 39-2 on Wednesday to override the veto, echoing the House's 111-0 vote a day earlier.  The message of support legislators sent to survivors of sexual violence was loud and clear.

Beginning at midnight on Thursday, July 5, when Governor Haley issued her veto of rape crisis funding, until this Wednesday afternoon when the Senate overrode that veto, Sexual Trauma Services responded to 18 hospital calls and 18 hotline calls within its four-county service area. While the political haggling continued, STSM staff and trained volunteers never wavered in their mission to advocate for victims.

"As the dust settles, we are gladly handing back the business of politics to the politicians and focusing on what we do best: helping survivors heal and ending sexual violence in the Midlands," Executive Director Ginny Waller wrote in a letter to supporters following the vote. 

In 2011 STSM served 1,561 survivors of sexual abuse and assault in Richland, Lexington, Newberry, and Sumter counties.  Staff and volunteers made 375 hospital visits and answered 587 hotline calls - more than one a day.  STSM staff also provided prevention education to nearly 9,000 people, both youth and adults. 

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The message of support legislators sent to survivors was loud and clear

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.