Dear Governor Patrick,
I’m writing as your constituent to urge you to sign the $400K included in the FY2010 supplemental budget for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program. (Line Item 4510-0810 of the Department of Public Health).
I also urge you to match these funds of $600K from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services so that funding to these important programs can be fully restored.
The SANE Program is critical to survivors of rape and sexual assault, but is only one of what is already too few important programs that support survivors. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. This abuse resulted in years of depression and a long battle with eating disorders. As a teenager, I questioned whether I had a future, and didn’t know whether my future would hold those things that most people take for granted: love, safety, trust, and happiness.
Fortunately, my story has a happy ending. Thanks to a decade of excellent individual and group therapy treatment, I was able to heal from these traumas. I needed long-term, professional treatment to stop hurting myself, start trusting people, and begin building a positive life for myself. Today, I lead a happy and productive life and make a positive social and economic impact on society. I have a great job, wonderful friends, and a loving, caring relationship. I pay taxes and I give back to the community in other ways – through service, through my career, and through advocacy.
However, I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I was only able to access these services because I came from a privileged family who was able to pay for them out of pocket. My family was willing and able to invest thousands of dollars in my treatment and recovery. Because of that, I can write to you today, a leader in the non-profit sector and someone who is deeply committed to paving the way for others who are not so fortunate.
Had I come from a family of modest means, my outcome might have been very different. At the time I needed help, public services were extremely limited. For example, in college, there was a single four month therapy group with six spots available per semester. Had I been limited to what was publicly provided, I probably would have ended up a statistic. Survivors like me are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, battle lifelong depression, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and attempt or commit suicide. This doesn’t include lost work, lost quality of life, and lost potential for positive contributions to the community.
Ending the sexual abuse of children may not happen overnight, but services for victims can significantly increase their chances of not just surviving, but thriving in the world. Society will always have to pay a
price for sexual assault and abuse, but today, the Commonwealth has the opportunity to invest in its prevention and treatment, rather than pay for its aftermath.
Please restore FULL FUNDING to this critical program that helps our whole community stay safe.