Dear NVRDC supporter,
Thank you for another year of supporting the Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC) and our work empowering victims of all types of crime to achieve survivor defined justice in our nation's capital. With your help, our staff grew and we successfully served more victims of crime in the last year than ever before.
One of these victims was Catalina*, a survivor of sexual assault. She connected with us through our Sexual Assault Crisis Response Project when she came to MedStar Washington Hospital Center seeking a forensic medical examination. She felt overwhelmed by everything that was going on around her and unsure whether or not she wanted to report to law enforcement. After speaking with her case manager about her options and their possible implications, she decided to go ahead with the police interview. Demonstrating her commitment to ending sexual violence, she told her case manager, "I want to do it. I don't care if I'm a statistic. I need to do it because this needs to stop."
After engaging the criminal legal system, Catalina began working with an NVRDC attorney while the Metropolitan Police Department was investigating her assault. While she was waiting to hear whether the U.S. Attorney's Office would prosecute her case, Catalina continued to persevere. With the constant support of her case manager, she engaged with campus resources, proactively built safe spaces in her home, continued to work at her job, and even maintained her yoga practice even though her assailant was her former yoga instructor.
When her case manager told Catalina that charges were, in fact, being filed against her assailant, Catalina cried with relief. In her own words, "It's not that I want anyone to go to jail. It's just the fact that I used my voice and people believed me."
That's where NVRDC's attorneys and case managers often have the greatest impact. We believe survivors and help empower them to define justice for themselves even when this doesn't come from engaging the criminal justice system. Furthermore, we help them navigate complex systems and make sure that their voices are heard and respected in the criminal legal process. Catalina's story is just one among the hundreds of crime victims we've been able to help in 2015.
Our work would not be possible without the support of people like you. Thank you so much for your generosity and for your shared commitment to empowering victims of all types of crime in DC. On behalf of the NVRDC staff and Board of Directors, we wish you and your families a very happy new year.
Nikki Charles and Bridgette Harwood
Co-Executive Directors, NVRDC
*To protect our client's privacy, we have shared this story using a pseudonym.