Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Imperial Avenue Ignites Change

Dear Friends,

Last year at this time, our community was shocked by the discovery of 11 women found murdered in the Imperial Avenue home of a convicted rapist in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood. As we approach the anniversary of this tragedy, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center honors these women - women who were mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and friends to so many.
We offer the community this progress report, highlighting the community's response over the last 12 months and our collective opportunity to turn tragedy into change. The Imperial Avenue crisis caused us to ask critical questions and taught us difficult, but important lessons:
Rape is underreported and misunderstood.

Women who come forward to say they were raped must be believed and supported.
There are thousands of rape survivors living in silence, as indicated by the double-digit growth in each of CRCC's programs last year.

Vulnerable populations such as those who are poor, drug-addicted and/or homeless are at extreme risk of sexual assault and murder.

Tragedy can galvanize a community and create opportunity for change. Read more lessons.
The Imperial Avenue case caused many in the community to demand change. We applaud Mayor Frank G. Jackson and the City of Cleveland Division of Police, The Plain Dealer, Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray and even the United States Senate for making sure these deaths were not in vain, but a catalyst to improve our community's response to sexual violence.

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has been and will remain on the front lines, advocating for the rights of rape survivors and pushing for change. Read more about our response.

Our involvement with the Mayor's Special Commission on Missing Persons and Sex Crimes Investigations, and now the Oversight Committee, elevates the response for victims of sexual assault. As an advocacy organization, it is CRCC's role to update the public on the implementation of the recommendations. Overall, we believe strong progress has been made to enhance sex crimes investigations seven months later. Here is a snapshot of that progress. Read full report.

The word "crisis" written in Chinese is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other opportunity. While we continue to mourn the loss of 11 women from our city, we join others in seeking opportunity to make sure this never happens to our sisters again.


Megan O'Bryan
President & CEO

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