Community comes together to bring comprehensive services to victims of sexual violence
In the past, sexual assault victims had to travel more than 40 miles to receive counseling and advocacy services to help them cope with the devastation of their traumatic experience. For the first time in Dallas’ history, rape crisis counseling is now available in southern Dallas County, an area with some of the highest rates of sexual crime in this area. With the help of generous donors and community champions, Methodist Health System and Methodist Dallas Medical Center have partnered with The Turning Point to bring much needed advocacy services to this community.
“Once victims left our doors, they often didn’t know where to turn or how to rebuild their lives,” said Martin L. Koonsman, MD, FACS, president, Methodist Dallas. He further added, “Today, in partnership with The Turning Point, we are adding advocacy and counseling services to respond immediately to the special needs of these patients.”
“The Dallas Police Department appreciates having committed partners like Methodist Health System,” said Chief U. Renee Hall. By working together we can provide a strong voice that will lead to the conviction of these individuals.
Methodist Health System Foundation is thankful to several donors who have allowed us to expand and provide advocacy and counseling services to sexual assault victims. These supporters include The Moody Foundation, The Mike & Mary Terry Family Foundation, The Boone Family Foundation, Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundation, Junior League of Dallas, Chi Omega Christmas Market, The Moozie Foundation, and Methodist Dallas Medical Center Auxiliary.
In 2014, Methodist Dallas implemented the only Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program serving southern Dallas County, allowing registered nurses who’ve completed additional education and training to provide comprehensive healthcare to survivors of sexual assault. These specially trained nurses also collect evidence to provide to investigators. As a result of this program, Methodist Dallas medical staff has treated 349 men and women, and reporting of sexual violence increased 34 percent. It continues to have a powerful and growing impact on this community.
“Our donors recognized the needs of our patients and stepped up to provide much needed financial support,” said Jim Johnston, president, Methodist Health System Foundation. He went on to say that, “Methodist Dallas, in collaboration with The Turning Point, now has the clinical resources and staffing to care for the victims beyond the physical examine. It’s the best kind of partnership, and we are grateful for their support.”
As a sexual assault victim and founder of the SANE Initiative in Dallas County, Courtney Underwood knows how valuable these resources are. Her testimony states: “I know how different my story would have been and how my own extraordinarily difficult journey to recovery would have been transformed if I had access to the kinds of services that The Turning Point will soon be providing in this community…We must stand for victims. We must to work to remove the barriers victims face if we want to have any hope of transforming the horrific reality that, presently in our nation, fewer than 3% of rapists will ever spend a single day in jail. Thank you to these organizations for standing with us in our battle to bring hope, healing, and justice to survivors.”