Community members came together for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence by participating in multiple fundraising activities.
In support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, GBMC HealthCare hosted a multi-faceted campaign throughout the first half of April to spread awareness and raise funds for the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination and Domestic Violence Program (SAFE & DV). Through several means of participation, GBMC raised a grand total of more than $80,000 to support programs for those who come to the SAFE & DV Program for treatment and support.
On April 10, Core Cycle Studios of Timonium hosted an in-person, socially distanced fundraiser centered around building awareness for the number of children treated by GBMC. Led by studio owner Heather Chilcot, seven teams of two each rode 94 miles, representing the 94 children who were sexual assault victims treated by GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program in 2020. These teams were in addition to other participants who cycled or participated in the barre class for one hour each. Overall, the Core Cycle Studios fundraiser raised over $2,000.
Also in April, Baltimore artists Beth-Ann Wilson and Amy Shrestha each graciously donated a one-of-a-kind butterfly painting that was raffled off to support GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program. The butterflies represent the victims of sexual assault and/or domestic violence emerging from their personal tragedies, ready to face life with their newfound vigor and strength. This raffle raised $3,426 to funnel back into the program. A video of Amy’s painting coming to life can be viewed here.
Lastly, from April 1 to April 17, participants joined the SAFE & DV team virtually in walking one mile or more, logging their miles, and sharing their journey to spread awareness of the risks and unfortunate impact of sexual assault in our community. Through an outpouring of community support, the event totaled 5,028 miles walked, surpassing the goal of 2,891 miles to represent the 2,891 patients who received help from the SAFE & DV Program in the last five years. The event raised $77,471 with over 248 dedicated community members joining the movement. In addition, locally owned Mason Mayes Boutique donated 10% of all sales from Saturday, April 17, to GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program. This marked GBMC’s 6thannual Walk a Mile in Their Shoes event and raised funds that will support the SAFE & DV Program throughout 2021.
The video from this year’s virtual Walk a Mile in Their Shoes event is here. Throughout the video, GBMC’s experts give insight into the work being done by the program and the personal experiences they have had with victims. (Bold numbers are where those messages were made in the video).
- “Domestic violence and sexual assault will only stop in our community when people rise up against it.” (0:16-0:26) – John B. Chessare, MD, MPH, President and CEO, GBMC HealthCare
- “They were in a position where they weren’t able to make a phone call safely to look for help, or go on the internet to search for different places and resources that they could go to for help.” (2:35-2:45) – Valerie Weir, Coordinator, GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program
- “It is the only program of its kind in Baltimore County that provides free, confidential services to victims of all ages.” (4:39-4:47) – Fred Chan, MD, Co-Chair, GBMC Walk a Mile in Their Shoes Committee
- “They don’t have to go anywhere. The detectives are here. We have the capability to interview here, to do the exam here.” (16:02-16:09) – Kelly Truax, Community Outreach Coordinator, GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program
- “Phoning in to our program just to ask questions, to get support, or to speak with an advocate, we’re here for you.” (18:12-18:20) – Laura Clary, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-E, Clinical Program Manager, GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program
- “We care for people at their most vulnerable moment; probably the lowest moment of their lives. They need every level of support and our program provides that.” (7:42-7:53) – Bonnie Stein, Co-Chair, GBMC Walk a Mile in Their Shoes Committee
Registered nurses in the SAFE & DV Program are specifically trained and certified by the Maryland Board of Nursing to provide services for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in a confidential, non-judgmental atmosphere. In addition, the program's victim advocates assist with crisis counseling, emotional grounding, safety planning and danger assessment, as well as providing referrals for counseling/legal/shelter services within the community. For more information, visit www.gbmc.org/safe-dv.