Since the earliest days of the women's anti-violence movement, the Ms. Foundation has been among the first to fund domestic violence shelters, sexual-assault hotlines and other intervention services for women survivors. In more recent years, we have supported a range of community-based strategies to stop violence before it occurs—particularly, violence directed against women, girls and LGBTQ individuals.
Among the most serious threats to women’s safety is child sexual abuse, which is at the root of many other problems women and girls face later in life, including domestic violence, prostitution, incarceration and homelessness. Girls are disproportionately affected by child sexual abuse — one in four girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. Attuned to this harsh reality, the Ms. Foundation for Women is leading the charge, working alongside sister organizations to correct the power imbalances that precipitate abuse.
This year, the Ms. Foundation has invested more than $750,000 in organizations working to end child sexual abuse. We’re supporting the efforts of Darkness to Light and Stop It Now! to urge federal policy officials to prioritize prevention among youth-serving organizations. And we’re enabling Samaritan Counseling Center to expand its Safe Church Project, designed to help congregations develop policies and practices to protect children and youth from sexual abuse.
In order to realize our common vision of ending violence against women and girls, including child sexual abuse, women’s advocates from all corners must work together to build a robust national movement working in numerous communities, capable of inspiring hope in all of us and holding perpetrators accountable. Join the Ms. Foundation and help us prevent abuse in the lives of all women and girls.
-- Kayla Santalla