(Quick overview: I work as a counselor/advocate for a program serving people who have been raped and/or are in crisis surrounding the trauma of sexual assault.)
I had a brutal week last week, and I’m a pro. The news from the Rape/Crisis front is often not good, due to the nature of the subject. But we are seeing an alarming uptick in people in extreme crisis with mental illness relying on our “hotline”. We collaborate with other organizations and can usually get appropriate help when and where it is needed. That is becoming more challenging in a “Blue” state, which makes me wonder about how much we will be confronted with calls as social programs are cut from state and federal budgets across America.
Scamerica. It’s a scam and it is scary.
I worked my ass off last week doing things that don’t translate well. Did I build a car or help shape an object that is easily defined/? No. It is my sincere hope that I saved lives, somehow.
And I don’t want any applause for that – it’s my job. I have a scary case of careworker fatigue, and I like to think I’m unbeatable.
I guess I’m writing this to say that people like me get burned out – and I include every caring profession – when the political nonsense happens and we see our careers go down the drain. I include every social service job, including teachers and fire fighters.
It is my sincere wish that nobody will be raped and end up in the ER. It is my sincere wish that nobody’s house will burn down. It is my sincere wish that children can walk to school and have a caring professional there to greet them.
I certainly don’t get paid very much for what I do. I am a colleague of everyone who does care work. I have three days off, thank goodness, to reconnect with my soul which is being slowly sucked out of my body.
I can’t break confidentiality and tell you what happened last week. I can say that people are in crisis – big crisis – 24/7. I can tell you that the spectrum of things I dealt with last week goes from incest to schizophrenia, with a lot of blurred lines. Sexual trauma for a child can lead to mental illness. But those are two separate subjects that I dealt with last week.
One thing I want to address is the SANE program. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. This program is vitally important, and the SANE nurses get paid a pittance. It’s a program that relies on funding, and the nurses are already trying to cover larger swaths of territory.
The SANE nurse exam is the only way to collect forensic evidence to allow a survivor to prosecute the rapist.
Without the SANE exam, well, the DA is not going to pick up the case. So basically, when you vote to cut social services you are opening the door for rapists to get away with it.
This weekend, a survivor was not even offered a SANE exam. Right now, we are outraged and can change the policy of a particular hospital (and doctor).
But that’s activism, and I am frightened that this sane policy – SANE – is probably going to disappear soon. The nurses will always show up – they basically volunteer – but without funding, the program won’t have credibility.
And this is just where I live., which is a national emblem of liberal la la land.
And that’s why I talked to people in crisis from other states. We are not a national hotline. It means that we’re the ONLY hotline. And I only have resources from my area – I don’t know how to help someone in New Mexico.
Are you scared yet?
Welcome to my world.
I feel like a victim of trauma, again. Not being able to help people who need help is traumatic on every level. And I get to cry about it today, I guess. I’ll be back in the saddle on Thursday and doing everything in my power to make sure people have the help and support they need.
As long as I have a job, that is.