Here you can find some explanations of our work, and common questions we've been asked as we start expanding The Survivor Fund Innovation Hub. This work is iterative and if there are questions you have, that are not answered here, please contact us.
What is Financial Care?
Financial care is care with cash. It is a direct, immediately useful form of support for another human being. It is not an investment (because human beings are human beings, not commodities). Financial care is only one form of care, one of many ways that we must continue to show up for survivors, as people in our communities, our families, and our schools. Financial care emphasizes that survivors who need financial support are our equals- we are not giving them something they do not deserve or need to earn. We care for rather than give to. We care for rather than invest in, as human beings are not financial objects, but complex subjects.
What is Power-Based Sexual Violence?
This term refers to various forms of harm including stalking, sexual assault, rape, intimate partner violence, dating violence, sexual harassment, and other forms of assault predicated on a desire to dominate and/or control another person through power-based sexual acts of violence. These forms of violence are predicated on and compound social, economic, and political inequality-such as gender or racial inequality- which manifests in interpersonal relationships. We use this term to reflect the intersectional nature of these experiences and to highlight the centrality of power inequality in these issues.
Why Financial Care? Does It Work?
“Financial care” or direct cash assistance programs are a social protection tool used widely and to great effect in a variety of contexts. Flexible funding cash assistance also is cost-effective. In 2021, FreeFrom learned that 64 percent of the 6600 survivors who received cash assistance from them needed the cash assistance to “get safe.” The next three most urgent needs, in order, were: utility bills relief, credit and/or debit card relief, and safe employment. FreeFrom also learned that survivors of domestic violence need $730 on average to get safe immediately and $978 per month on average to stay safe.
Sexual violence costs money. A lot of money. In fact, sexual assault is the most costly of any crime, with a 2008 study estimating the “intangible” costs to be $265,913.16 in 2022 dollars.. A 2022 study found that 16% of emergency room visits for sexual assault were not covered by insurance, with an average cost of $3,551. Approximately 20% of female survivors of sexual violence, aged 18-24, (RAINN), report to the police, and very few report to universities. According to a 2017 estimation, rape is the most costly of all crimes with an estimated lifetime cost of over $122,000. Money will not erase the harm caused by sexual violence. However, some of the services that money can buy can help a survivor address the ramifications of their traumatization. This includes counseling, transportation, STI testing, moving costs, and a variety of other tangible costs.
Why Isn't Title IX Enough?
“The more costly and time-consuming complaints are, the harder it is to make complaints for those with fewer means. Those who need to complain are those who cannot afford to complain. Those who most need to and cannot afford to complain often leave. Those who complain might leave because of who or what remains. And when those who complain leave, what or who they complain about remains. The escalation of violence against those who complain about violence is how violence remains” Sara Ahmed
Beyond the limitations of Title IX and challenges in implementation, Title IX is not enough. Title IX is a legal scheme designed to measure civil liability after harm has beEN done. It focuses on events, on the preponderance of the evidence. This process does not center on the practical or immediate needs of survivors. Gender-based violence has costs, and Title IX, a lengthy, abstract legal process is not designed to quickly address these costs.
Why aren’t we replicating the student assistance fund within campus structures across the country?
There are many benefits to the university setting, and we see our work as co-existing alongside, and in coordination with, current efforts to improve the University setting. We are supportive of the work universities are undertaking to try and combat power- based sexual violence for students.
A national fund means having a wider reach. Student survivors should have access to financial care regardless of whether or not their university has a fund.
What are the common barriers a confidential fund faces within the university structure that led to us moving our model outside of the university?
This list is not exhaustive:
How will a student survivor access funds? How will a university advocate be involved?
In our current fund model, student survivors, with the help of campus advocates, submit applications to a panel of trauma-informed experts. Then, funds or reimbursements are directed to students via a variety of institutional means.
Are you currently accepting applications for the Fund?
At this time, we are not currently accepting applications for the fund. Our focus is on fundraising and ensuring we have a confidential, trauma-informed infrastructure to support our national model. If you have resources, ideas, or connections to help our fundraising efforts, please contact us.