Lendon Ebbels joins the Joyful Heart Foundation as a recent graduate of McGill University, where she obtained her BA in Sociology. There, she volunteered extensively with its student-run sexual assault center, providing support and information to survivors and their allies and promoting an awareness of issues and myths surrounding sexual assault in the community as a workshop facilitator, media watch coordinator, and external representative. Lendon held two internships with Human Rights Watch, where she lent her support to efforts to end the rape kit backlog and other US-based advocacy goals.
Posts by Lendon
On May 17, I had the opportunity to work and attend Joyful Heart’s 4th Annual Gala at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. As Joyful Heart’s Advocacy & Communications Associate, I was part of a team that informed attendees of one of Joyful Heart’s biggest advocacy efforts–ending the rape kit backlog–and helped them take action to do so. The night epitomized what’s so incredible about Joyful Heart’s supporters and why this work is so important.
As most events do, ours had a theme, How Will You Join? (The Joyful Revolution). In 2009, at Joyful Heart’s second Gala, the Joyful Revolution was born: a movement of our collective vision for a community that collaboratively ends the cycle of violence and abuse by turning toward the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. At last year’s Gala, the Revolution Continued as we honored the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which changed the way violent crimes against women are prosecuted and prevented.
At this year’s Gala, we asked the question How Will You Join? And it was answered in amazing ways throughout the night.
We started off with a letter writing campaign to members of More >
We’re continuing our feature of stories from survivors of rape and sexual assault who have been affected by the backlog of untested rape kits. Today, Natasha shares her story with us. We thank her and honor her courage in sharing what she has experienced.
“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand: there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend; some hurts that go too deep, that have taken hold.” –Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
J. R. R. Tolkien has a knack for putting thoughts into words that I, alas, do not. How could I possibly put into words my journey and all the events that brought me to where I am today?
In 1993 I was violently raped, sodomized and robbed at gunpoint by an unknown assailant. When I escaped and thankfully found myself in my apartment, my roommate insisted that I go to the hospital. I agreed to wait for an ambulance, even though my first instinct was to take a shower. I am so very grateful today that I made that choice.
In the early 1990s, DNA More >
Today we have a guest post from Rebecca Carman, LCSW, a social worker with the Elmhurst Hospital Center SAFE program in New York City. Identifying a need to compile and share the best practices for responding to sexual assault victims in the hospital, she created The SAFE Coordinator’s Handbook in 2010. The handbook has been used by professionals across the country and internationally to better respond to victims of sexual violence. Today, the author shares the impetus behind the handbook and what went into making it happen.
I came to work at Elmhurst Hospital Center as Coordinator of the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program in 2004. As you may know, these Emergency Department-based programs ensure state-of-the art care for victims of sexual assault.
My role was to coordinate the 24-hour SAFE on-call team, take care of basic program administration and serve as in-house consultant. Gaining momentum nationwide for the past decade or so, SAFE programs—also known as SANE or SAE programs–are a welcome advance: they ensure sensitive and expert care to victims of sexual assault, reduce waiting times and strive for restoration of safety and control to patients.
Elmhurst Hospital, my then-new place of employment, is one of the eleven facilities comprising the New More >
On Friday, April 8, the US Department of Justice announced the two recipients of an action research grant targeting untested rape kits. Houston, Texas and Wayne County, Michigan will be receiving $176,000 and $200,000, respectively to, “identify underlying reasons why sexual assault kit evidence is not tested and to develop practices to improve the criminal justice response to sexual assault.”
The funding, administered by the National Institute of Justice, a branch of the US Department of Justice, is the first of a two phase project. According to the press release:
In Phase I, for which this FY 2010 funding was awarded, researchers will team up with representatives from the police department, crime lab, prosecutor’s office and community-based victim services organizations in Wayne County and Houston. The teams will develop a strategy to tackle their problems, with special emphasis on how and when to notify victims when their SAK (which may be years old) is going to be tested.
In Phase II of the project, NIJ seeks to provide additional funds to help the two jurisdictions implement their strategies and evaluate their effectiveness. NIJ anticipates that these two projects will produce transportable lessons and strategies for other jurisdictions experiencing similar problems.
Joyful Heart is thrilled More >
In February, Women’s eNews ran a commentary by Wendy Murphy which argued that testing the backlog of rape kits– the evidence collected from victims’ bodies that is waiting to be tested in storage facilities across the United States–is a waste of resources and violates the privacy of victims.
Last month, former New York City chief sex crimes prosecutor, best-selling author and Joyful Heart board member Linda Fairstein wrote a brilliant rebuttal in response to Murphy’s piece published in The Daily Beast (a longer version was published on the Backlog Blog). Sarah Tofte pointed to Linda’s article as necessary reading on testing the rape kit backlog and offered some thoughts on Wendy’s article in an opinion piece that was featured on Women’s eNews this week.
Follow the link below to read it.