New UT group creates comfort kits for sex assault survivors

UT group helping sex assault survivors

Nearly one out of every five women report being raped at some point in their life. And although more awareness and prevention programs have been put in place, the epidemic continues.

That's why two University of Texas students created Strengthening Sleeping Beauty, a group that helps survivors of sexual assault by focusing on the recovery and making special kits. 

The kits include a change of clothing, fresh undergarments, toiletries, notes of encouragement and snacks.

Items are taken to local hospitals where staff members offer them to patients who are getting rape kits tested.

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, women ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. Women ages 18-24 who are college students are three times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence.

The organization's President Emma Robertson says because of past experiences of her friends, including herself, she knew this was a mission she had to take on.

"Because you're in a new space, and you're in a very sterile environment, and so for me to not have things that I was comfortable--not make me feel like I was at home, was extremely traumatizing,” Robertson said.

"We are not equipped to handle anything like emotional trauma or anything but we can meet a material need."

The idea is to give survivors a sense of feeling like themselves. 

Reports show 94 percent of women who are raped experience PTSD 14 days after the assault, and 30 percent experience it nine months after the attack.

The founders hope Strengthening Sleeping Beauty will be a platform for diving into other issues, such as human trafficking.

“Other things that have to do with post-assault, so we're definitely looking to open up that conversation with our members,” Robertson said.

The group had their first drop off at the end of last month. If you would like to make a donation or learn more about the group, visit their Facebook page Strengthening Sleeping Beauty.

The group is taking gently used clothing such as yoga pants and t-shirts, socks and undergarments must be new. Toothbrushes, deodorant and healthy snacks and drinks are also accepted. Monetary donations are not accepted at this time.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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