In 2016, we asked our University to pay for an Uber to the hospital because we learned that a peer's roundtrip from campus to the nearest SANE clinic cost them $105. The equivalent of the textbook that they could no longer afford.
In the following months and years, we learned of more experiences our peers faced. There was a distinct connection between trauma and a lack of access to the unavoidable expense of healing. In each situation, these costs threatened the student’s ability to continue their education. Very few students told their parents about their assaults, and almost none reported their experiences to the police or the University. Yet every student impacted by sexual violence confronted a form of scarcity- of empathy, time, institutional attention, and most specifically, money.
Seeing this scarcity, we developed a strategy and an innovative policy idea. We had and have a clear vision. To create a direct cash assistance fund founded on one simple principle:
Survivors deserve healing, financial care, and the opportunity to continue with their college experience.
We started The Survivor Fund; a survivor-centered, trauma-informed, confidential cash assistance program at our alma mater.
To date, The Survivor Fund has distributed more than $21,000 to survivors of power-based sexual violence since the fund started in 2017.
Since starting the fund, we have deepened our belief in the sustainable, and life-altering ways a fund, like The Survivor Fund, can have on students’ lives when available.
In 2022, as we approached our sixth year of researching this issue, watching the fund's impact, and the opportunity to help more students, we decided to take the fund outside of the university structure. We believe a national fund will remove institutional barriers that impact the ability for students at campuses across the country to receive cash assistance in the aftermath of their trauma.