Dear Jane Doe Supporters:
I set upon this year with a goal: to create awareness of sexual violence and find a way to help those who have fallen prey to this realm of crime. I took countless steps, reworked numerous plans, and completely dedicated my time and energy to making that goal a reality.
Starting a non-profit organization is risky for a young professional, and the questions came bluntly. How would I get funding? Would people actually utilize my services? And, most of all, could I really help the people who need it the most?
Well, in September, a woman called Jane Doe about an abusive situation she was experiencing with her father. She had tried several other avenues to receive help, but was turned away because the parent-child relationship is not commonly considered to create a situation of “domestic” violence.
When I told this woman I could help, her sigh of relief spoke volumes more than her words of gratitude. A few days later, this woman sat in my office and learned that legal services cost more than what she makes in a week, and she would not be able to pay her rent if she had to pay for a lawyer.
When I told her that she was eligible for free legal assistance due to the generous support of our donors, her flood of tears told me that yes, Jane Doe is a needed resource, and it really would help the people who need it the most.
Several weeks later, this woman stood outside the courthouse and asked me, “What do I do next?”
My answer to her was simply, “You take it an hour at a time.”
During this busy holiday season when people around you are bustling through shopping malls, enjoying social gatherings, and creating lifelong memories with family and friends, I ask that you take a moment to think of those who aren’t following holiday traditions because of the misfortune that has fallen upon them over this past year.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone you may know who has been affected by sexual violence and feel the value they put in each hour they feel safe. Then, in the spirit of the season, I ask you to give an hour.
Give an hour a week, an hour a month, or an hour a year by participating in one of Jane Doe’s volunteer programs.
Give an hour right now by spreading the word about Jane Doe and the truth about sexual violence to friends, family, and colleagues, through avenues such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Give an hour of your wages, no matter how much or how little that may be, to help Jane Doe provide legal services to survivors of sexual violence, regardless of who they are or how the violence is classified.
Every hour that you give symbolizes the time someone spends struggling due to no fault of their own. It signifies that you, through whatever means you can, are taking a stand against sexual violence in our society. I hope you will join me on this priceless journey by giving Jane Doe just an hour.
President and Founder
Jane Doe Advocacy Center