Survivors have the right to make dignified and educated decisions.
Federal crime victims are entitled to "the right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy". While most victims of sexual violence will be processed through state courts, we at The Dignity Project believe that every victim should be treated with fairness and dignity.
At our inception, there was little guidance on the alternative avenues survivors were able to pursue. There were no recourses that were honest and reflective of the experiences of survivors. Survivors were given a paper folder containing basic information on medical privacy rights, Orders of Protections, and the Criminal Justice Process. There were more pages on medical privacy disclosures than the process of the criminal justice system. There was no notice that a survivor could file a civil lawsuit without going through the criminal justice system. And, most importantly, it failed to notify victims of dismissal of cases at any stage.
Together, we set out to provide survivors with the most information that we could provide, so that they can make an educated decision that they felt dignified in.
In 2017, I was raped. I walked a mile home alone in 18-degree weather. An hour later, I found myself standing in the emergency room asking for a rape kit to be taken.
I cannot explain what I thought or felt in the first days after my assault because, the depth of my pain at the time, is unimaginable to me today. The process was in no way shape or form, easy. At times it felt impossible, unmanageable and like a mistake. I have been in your shoes. I have sat in the emergency room for hours, been swabbed and video tapped, been exhausted, taken any pill they would give me to make sure the assault didn't have lasting impacts on my physical being. But unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that tomorrow things will make any sense, that someone will come and comfort you, understand you, reach out to you. I have been in the same systems that you may be considering.
I came to recognize the fundamental lack of respect and compassion for survivors. In particular, the demoralizing, confusing, and hectic process of having a rape kit taken and the "nothing" that happened after it.
The information given to me was vague, untelling, and incomplete about what would happen if I were to make a decision. Most of the time I had to contact my attorney to ask about legal language that wasn't clear. I came to realize that as the “victim” I was the last to be notified yet the first to be ridiculed and diminished, beginning at the time, when the rape kit began. So, I set out to create a more humane and dignified process for survivors of sexual violence, contacted passionate and intelligent women, and together this project was born.
The Dignity Project has made it it’s mission to increase clarity for survivors in the aftermath of trauma. We seek to enable and empower a survivor's ability to feel dignified and educated in the decisions they are asked to make. We know there will be days when you feel confused and out of place. But allow that discomfort to let you grow wings. I made a promise to myself, that if I was ever able to escape the pain and frustration, agony and confusion, I would do all in my power to ensure that I could reduce those feelings for at least one other survivor.
This project was created from us to you.
Survivors are at the center of our work.
How can you help?
Until we have our donation page accessible, you can write a survivor a note.
Each of our boxes contains a handwritten note to the survivor. If you would like to write a note, you do so below.