Crystal, a 15 year old runaway fleeing her home and sexually abusive step-father, was alone, cold and scared on a dark street.
Though hesitant, she was relieved when a man in his 20’s offered her comfort and a warm place to stay. He took her home, fed her and became her confidant, consoling and listening to her.
Within a week he convinced her to work the streets. She owed it to him. He needed help financially. It would only be for a little while. She wanted to help him like he had helped her. Reluctantly, she agreed because she would do anything to stay away from her stepfather, not realizing this would only perpetuate the violence in her life.
Her second night on the street she was raped by a stranger. She called the police and was taken to the hospital. A BAWAR (Bay Area Women Against Rape) advocate was called to meet her there.
Our advocate offered a comforting hand, listened to her fears and supported her through the police questioning and the forensic medical exam. Because she was a runaway, she was taken to a youth shelter where our advocate visited her weekly and provided in-person counseling in our office. We helped her explore life options and supported her in setting and maintaining her goals. When she needed someone, there was 24-hour access to a BAWAR crisis counselor. She was invited to use our SPA (Safe Place Alternative) during the day for respite, food and clothing.
Thanks to your generous support, today 17-year-old Crystal, a bright young woman, is engaged in school and making wise choices. She still sometimes calls her advocate and at times helps in our office putting together care packages for other youth caught in the web of violence.
Last year, you and people like you, helped BAWAR to provide services to over 5,000 sexual assault survivors and their friends and family.