Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Rape Survivor Tells Her Story and Thanks CAASE's Attorneys

As CAASE wraps up 2011, we are reflecting on all that we've accomplished this year. Recently, we heard from a client about just how much CAASE's legal services really meant to her:

After Jessica’s ex-boyfriend sexually assaulted her, all she wanted was for him to stay away. Night after night, she couldn’t sleep, worrying about her own safety. “I wanted to create a barrier between him and myself. I wanted to be empowered.”

Through the Sexual Assault Justice Project, CAASE’s attorneys work with local rape crisis centers to ensure that survivors have access to free legal counsel through our office. At the YWCA, Jessica worked with an advocate who helped her navigate the criminal justice system. In the end, Jessica decided against filing a police report.  “I was not, at the time, emotionally able to press charges,” she said. Her advocate recommended that Jessica contact CAASE.

After talking to CAASE’s  Legal Director Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Jessica felt a huge sense of relief. “She was so professional, confidential and supportive,” Jessica said. “It was the first thing that made me feel like I had options.”

Kaethe wrote a letter to Jessica’s attacker, and he ended up calling the CAASE office. “Apparently he was apologetic and ashamed,” Jessica said. “He very much heard the tone of the letter and was afraid of the consequences, and I have not heard from him since.”

As a teacher who’s paying her way through grad school, Jessica wasn’t prepared for the additional costs that came after she was assaulted. Therapy and medication weren’t things she had budgeted for, so she was grateful that CAASE’s legal services were completely free, regardless of her income. “I was eating ramen noodles,” she said. “It would not have been feasible for me to pay for a lawyer.”

After raving about Kaethe’s professionalism, Jessica adds, “I would not have gotten through without this. Once the letter was sent, well, I’ve been slept through the night ever since.”

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