With movements like #MeToo and others, many people are coming forward and speaking out about traumatic incidents of harassment or assault that have shaped their lives. An idea many may not question is what happens to victims of violent sexual assault when they have been taken to a hospital. The answer is many victims have their clothes and personal belongings taken by law enforcement for use as evidence.
When the victims are ready to go home, these women, men and children have nothing to wear once they leave the facility. Some hospitals provide clothing and hygiene products to assault survivors, but not many.
Assistance League of the Eastside gives help and support by providing these patients with Assault Survivor Kits. Each kit contains personal care items such as sweatpants and a sweatshirt, socks, underwear and a hygiene kit which includes a toothbrush, comb, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, lotion and a hair elastic. This organization works with hospitals throughout the state, helping to restore dignity and lend a caring hand during a time of great vulnerability.
In 2017, Assistance League of the Eastside provided 2,333 Assault Survivor Kits to hospitals throughout the state — 392 were for children. Assistance League strives to make sure each child receives socks and underwear upon leaving the hospital. Children taken to Harborview Hospital are given a comfort item like a stuffed animal, to help the child through the trauma. This is funded through a grant that was received by Assistance League, specifically for child survivors served through Harborview.
The Kirkland Kiwanis Foundation recently made a $1,562 donation to Assistance League of the Eastside, specifically earmarked for these assault kits. Kirkland Kiwanis member Anya Bomgardner, who is also a member of Assistance League of the Eastside, won a raffle at one of the Kiwanis meetings, netting her $362. She used her winnings as seed money for a $1,200 donation made by the Kirkland Kiwanis Foundation, bringing the total to $1,562.
Assistance League helps the community in other areas as well with programs for women and children in need. Operation School Bell is one of the ways Assistance League helps local children needing school clothes. This program provides funding to students whose parents can’t afford to buy them school clothes and gives children a chance to shop for new clothing. Other programs provided by Assistance League help victims of domestic violence, and women and children who are homeless.
For more information about Assistance League of the Eastside visit their website at www.aleastside.org.