Restore Dignity is a national organization dedicated to creating opportunity, fostering personal growth, and restoring the dignity of Survivors of sexual violence during their pursuit of higher education. Our mission is to engage, unite, and empower Survivors by providing community and scholarship.
Our primary focus is to ensure equal access to education for Survivors through the creation of a sustainable scholarship fund. These scholarships can take many forms such as paying for a meal plan, eliminating the need for a part-time job, supplementing college tuition, supporting housing stipends, or aiding in college transfer.
An estimated one in four women will be the victim of sexual assault during her college years. As sexual assault becomes increasingly exposed, a majority of the funding and support goes towards awareness, prevention, and initial critical care, yet very little resources are dedicated to the direct support of Survivors post assault.
Sexual violence suddenly and unexpectedly disrupts a Survivor’s natural progression towards a college degree. One day they are free, and the next they face PTSD, dissociation, depression, social isolation, increased financial expenses, medical damages, physical relocation, and loss of self-agency in addition to the normal demands of being a student. The economic opportunity cost lost to this country because of the interruption or termination of education as the result of sexual violence challenges the growth of our nation. Restore Dignity was created to provide financial support, community validation, and safe environments to help Survivors reclaim their ability to remain active members of the educational community.
The current lack of financial support to remove obstacles to education post assault means that even the smallest scholarships will have immense impact on the life of the Survivor. We are accepting donations from University scholarship programs, alumni associations, private foundations, and crowd-funding support. This will inspire direct partnerships between organizations, universities and Survivors. The present value of small investments in a Survivor’s education will not only contribute to the restoration of the dignity of life for a single student, but also the dignity of society.
Through our academic partnerships, we will advocate for meaningful accommodation including flexible attendance, extended assignment deadlines, academic counselors, tutoring support, and open teacher communication. Providing this accommodation is effective because these students are motivated to be educated. Moreover, this accommodation is essential because obtaining a degree provides a clear avenue to independence, recovery, and access to opportunity for the rest of their lives.
We are uniquely qualified.
As Survivors of acquaintance rape, drug-facilitated sexual violence, and intimate partner violence during our academic years, we have a thorough insight into the patterns of behavior of sexual trauma and their unique traumatic profile. Our experience gives us the knowledge to provide targeted and effective support for Survivors. Collectively, we have participated in criminal and civil prosecution, mediations, Title IX investigations, testimony with congressmen, US Department of Education Rulemaking Committee hearings for the Campus Save Act, and have personally navigated the interruption of our own pursuit to higher education due to sexual violence.
We are going to raise more than awareness. Are you ready?