Clothing needed for survivors of sexual assault in the Midlands

COLUMBIA, SC - Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM) is hosting a summer clothing drive in June and July.

"One of the most challenging parts of reporting an assault for many survivors is having their clothes confiscated," Mary Dell Hayes, STSM Executive Director, said. "STSM ensures that new with tags clothing is available at all local hospitals for survivors of sexual assault. We want to ensure survivors are able to regain power and control through the reporting process and part of that is making sure they aren't sent home from the hospital in paper scrubs."

STSM is in need of new (with tags) clothing items for men, women, and children of all sizes.
Packs of underwear (S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL and above)
Sports bras (S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL and above)
Athletic shorts (S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL and above)
Sweatpants or yoga pants with elastic waistbands (S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL and above)
Short sleeve plain shirts (S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL and above)
Flip flops (all sizes)
Last year, STSM accompanied 359 survivors to the hospital to report a sexual assault; providing clothes to survivors who had their clothing confiscated as part of the evidence collection process. A trained STSM advocate provides information and emotional support for the survivor and their family while they are at the hospital for medical care. Advocates help meet a number of needs:
Advocates provide clothes if the survivor's clothing is confiscated.
Advocates make sure victims are provided with snacks or food once the exam is complete to ensure medication doesn't make the survivor ill.
Advocates will get a warm blanket if the hospital room is cold.
Advocates answer common questions about legal and medical processes, assist the survivor in planning for their safety following the assault, and connect the survivor to follow up services and other resources.

"STSM advocates are ready to respond to each survivor at the hospital, but the community ensures that each of those survivors is able to wearing new, clean clothing home from the hospital," Sherry Lewis, STSM Director of Therapy, said. "This gesture shows that our community values survivors and wants to support their healing process. It is a gesture to survivors that they are not alone as they begin to heal from trauma."

Individuals or community organizations hosting a drive can easily order online from STSM's Amazon Wishlist (http://a.co/byvzNTY). Contact Brittany Russell, STSM Director of Development, at (803) 790-8208 to schedule a drop off time in person at any of STSM's five locations.

Media inquiries should be directed to Layla Ferjani, STSM Director of Marketing, at
803-790-8208 or laylaf@stsm.org.

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About Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands
Sexual Trauma Services is a 501(c)3 private, nonprofit, United Way community partner, headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina. Formerly named Rape Crisis Network, Sexual Trauma Services serves Richland, Lexington, Newberry, Sumter, and Clarendon Counties. Sexual Trauma Services is committed to providing free support to survivors of sexual assault and abuse, including a 24-hour crisis hotline, hospital accompaniment, court accompaniment, personal advocacy, and individual and group counseling. In addition, Sexual Trauma Services works to educate the community to identify and prevent sexual violence. For more information or to donate online: www.stsm.org.