RVAP selected to help transgender victims, survivors of sexual assault

The Rape Victim Advocacy Program at the University of Iowa is one of four sites nationwide selected this fall to participate in FORGE’s Transgender Sexual Violence Project “Making the Connection: Building Stronger Relationships Between Sexual Assault Service Providers and Transgender Survivors.”

FORGE is an organization focused on improving the lives of transgender individuals by building stronger connections, providing resources, and empowering growth through knowledge.

The Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice supports this project. Other sites selected are in Massachusetts, Maine, and Colorado.

According to Karen Siler, RVAP Johnson County services coordinator, this selection is significant because multiple studies have shown that at least 50 percent of transgender individuals experience some form of sexual abuse in their lifetime.

The project will assess the barriers keeping transgender sexual assault survivors from accessing sexual assault services and allow RVAP staff to develop and implement a work plan to address those barriers.

Siler adds that she and her colleagues hope that by participating in this project, RVAP will become a safer and more accessible space for supporting, counseling, and advocating for this community.

For more information on this project, visit forge-forward.org/2011/09/sexual-assault-transgender-sites-selected. For more information on RVAP, visit www.uiowa.edu/~rvap/ or call 319-335-6001.