Sexual assault and rape can has a devastating impact on women's lives, with far-reaching long-term effects.
Yet, despite the fact that the number of rapes reported in England and Wales has doubled in the last four years, some vital women’s services are so short of funding that they are being forced to turn to fundraising websites so that they can support women in need.
The Women's Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (WRSAC) in Cornwall is one such institution: they have turned to Crowdfunder to ask you to donate money so that they can run invaluable counselling and therapy services.
WRSAC, which has been open for twenty-one years, is hoping to raise £20,000 through the funding website so that they can build four individual counselling/therapy rooms and a larger group therapy room for women to help them recover from acts of sexual violence.
Although they have been granted premises from their local authority, they run on the generosity of grants and rapidly depleting reserves to survive.
“We were forced into moving out of our premises after fifteen years,” said Maggie Parks, CEO of WRSAC.
“The council decided they needed to sell up that building so decided to move us. We’re grateful that they did give us another premises, but it’s a smaller space than we had before.
“With the new site, it doesn’t give us counselling and therapeutic rooms. We understand that trauma impacts on women’s bodies as well as their emotions and mental state.”
The organisation, who in reality need closer to £50,000 to open the building, have said that they are “living on the edge”.
“We’re vulnerable. We’re always living on the edge of particular services closing,” said Parks, who received an OBE for her work in supporting women and girls who have suffered from sexual violence.
Parks continued: “It’s so important that people donate because service users won’t have appropriate confidential safe spaces to discuss the most traumatic events of their lives. We’re having to use our admin offices to run out our services.
“Other vulnerable people have to go into public buildings. They’ll be going to GP surgeries and hospitals and other buildings that simply aren’t fit for purpose.”
The page has currently raised £4,430 of its £20,000 target, and supports around 2000 women a year.
Three weeks into the campaign, the organisation has another fortnight to go in a bid to secure funding for its project.
Donations can be made to the Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre here.
Images: iStock and Women's Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (WRSAC)