April Newsletter

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April E-Newsletter

We Remain Available 24/7 to Support Survivors!

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Across Massachusetts and right here in Nantucket, the demands on organizations that provide services to people impacted by sexual and domestic violence have been steadily increasing since the explosion of the #MeToo movement. Even before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, programs like A Safe Place, that are on the front lines every day, have been stretched to meet these needs. According to a 2019 survey conducted by Jane Doe Inc. (JDI), the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, 84% of the direct service providers surveyed reported an increase in requests for services between 2017 to 2019. More than 60% of programs reported they could not meet all these needs; with every single program surveyed expressing a need to increase services for members of those who are most marginalized and vulnerable: Black women, immigrants, LGBTQ+ communities, and survivors living with a disability. In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these challenges are made only more difficult, as businesses and critical services are closed, access to necessary medical care is limited, and many survivors are forced to spend more time isolated and in unsafe situations.

In these challenging times, A Safe Place remains available 24 hours/day for anyone impacted by domestic violence or sexual assault.  Advocates and Counselors are available by phone or computer for all non-emergency situations.  

We have partnered with the Nantucket Cottage Hospital, Nantucket Police Department & the Nantucket District Court to best meet the needs of survivors of abuse and will continue to provide 24/hour advocacy to those in need. 

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Making time for self-care is important for your overall health.
From watching the news every hour to scrolling social media a little too much, it’s easy to get lost in the noise of what’s going on around us. Here are some tips that you might find helpul for taking good care of yourself:  

Be mindful to support your immune system:

Engaging the altruistic center of your brain can have strong effects on your mood by releasing powerful neurochemicals. One way to engage this part of your brain is by giving to others, even if that means non-tangible gifts like compliments. To improve how you feel this month, challenge yourself to give a few genuine compliments every day. It may improve your mood and others!

Ways to be mindful:

Breathing exercises, focusing on each inhale and exhale.
Eating healthy meals, savoring each bite.
Meditating on a positive word (relaxation, ease or calm) or an image that makes you happy.
Intentionally connecting to an old friend (electronically, of course).
Taking a bath, noticing the warm temperature and its effects on muscle tension releasing.

Exercise to promote good health: 

Check out Nantucket Cycle and Fitness!  They have created a YouTube page to stream exercise classes that you can do at home with little or no equipment. You can also visit them on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NantucketCyclingFitness  

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For the latest updates on the Covid-19 virus for the Town of Nantucket, please visit;

https://www.nantucket-ma.gov

  

Nantucket Cottage Hospital is one of six hospitals in Massachusetts to launch a TeleSANE program, which connects hospital clinicians and sexual assault patients with certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) through innovative video conferencing technology. Through a secure and confidential video link, TeleSANE nurses are available 24/7 to assist NCH clinicians in the emergency department with everything from evidence collection to documentation and other support they need to provide quality sexual assault care to victims. TeleSANE nurses are employed by the National TeleNursing Center and based at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Through the TeleSANE program, they complement the competence and confidence of local clinicians so that they are well-equipped to care for sexual assault victims and collect vital evidence. The state Department of Public Health TeleSANE nurses will work with island organizations on sexual assault cases including local law enforcement, medical staff, and A Safe Place. “This program provides NCH with the resources to give island patients the best and most-up-to-date care possible when it comes to medical forensic care for sexual assault or abuse,” said Martha Lake-Greenfield, nurse manager of the NCH Emergency Department. A Safe Place is excited to have this program on island! 

Book Review by A Safe Place Advocate

Kathy Butterworth

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Know My Name by Chanel Miller Viking 2019.

Known as Emily Doe, she wrote a victim impact statement that was posted on Buzzfeed June 3, 2016 at 4 PM. In twenty minutes there were 15,000 views. A week later there were over fifteen million. Now in claiming her identity, Chanel Miller tells the journey of her life put on hold and into anguish for nearly four years.

Miller describes how she drank at a Stanford frat party with her sister and friend. Because she blacked out that night, she did not know she had been assaulted and raped behind a dumpster by freshman swim team member Brock Turner. Two bicycle riders found her, called police, and chased down the assaulter.

In the months and years that followed, Miller lived a victim’s life that isolated her from friends and made her unable to work. She waited with dread for court dates that were often delayed, rescheduled and delayed again. She cried in bathrooms and woke to nightmares. Though she knew it worked against her, she read comments posted at the bottom of news articles. “It’s not like he dragged her.” “If she had a boyfriend why wasn’t he there?” ”I have never allowed myself to get so drunk that I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Miller leaves nothing unsaid in her insistence that the aftermath of sexual assault be made known to a critical world. She loses belief in her ability to stand up for herself. She loses her appetite and sleep and weight. She is afraid to be alone. When she is in the court room the defense attorney grills her on unrelated subjects and praises her rapist. She writes that when Turner testified, “I learned what it meant to be re-victimized.”

It was the failure of Brock Turner to claim any responsibility or remorse that gave the author the fire to stand up, but it was the deep dive into her experience that makes her writing powerful. Know My Name is Chanel Miller’s claim of her own life. By speaking the raw truth, she has given courage to women around the globe.

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Some of the A Safe Place staff have used their time while remotely working to team up with the Nantucket Food Pantry to deliver food to families in need during these unprecedented times.  We are all in this together!  Check on your family.  Check on your friends.  Check on your neighbor.

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