Monday, October 30, 2006

Only Rape Crisis Center in 14th District to Close; LaTourette Ignores Letter Pleading for Help

Willoughby -- Former prosecutor and now Congressman, Steve LaTourette and the "do nothing Congress" failed the people of Ohio. They have yet to fund the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); therefore, the only rape crisis center in the 14th District is closing Wednesday, November 1.

In the Ashtabula Star Beacon, Heather McGinnis the executive director of Homesafe Rape Crisis Center reported that a total of nine rape crisis centers in Ohio are closing because they lost their grants. This eliminates the full-time employee who provides support to victims at a hospital emergency room. Also, the center provides a safe shelter and support system for victims of domestic violence.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides grants to these centers, but decided to shift the focus to rape prevention. As a result, the centers lost their grants and rape victims will suffer. LaTourette and Senator George Voinovich were sent letters regarding these cuts.

"The switch to prevention education must not come at the expense of helping people who are already victims," stated Lew Katz, Democratic candidate for the 14th Congressional District. "We must make certain that the rape crisis center serving the 14th District receives the necessary funding so that they can continue the essential services they provide to victims."

Cindy Vanallen, Director of the Victims of Crimes Assistance office, stated "it's a sad day for our victims of assault or rapeā€¦. My question is about the whole shift in funding. How do you tell an 80-year-old woman who has been raped, she should have taken prevention measures."

"As I promised the people of Astabula on Sunday, I will work to make sure that the funding is available," stated Katz.

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