Funding cut for Portland program helping Americans assaulted abroad

Funding slashed to help Americans assaulted abroad

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Portland-based nonprofit is trying to stay afloat after suddenly losing federal funding.

Sexual Assault Support & Help for Americans Abroad, or SASHAA, connects assault survivors with emergency, medical and legal resources while traveling or living outside the U.S.

Last month, the Trump Administration informed SASHAA it would be pulling an $800,000 Department of Justice Grant, that would have funded SASHAA for the next two years.

“It was a complete shock,” said SASHAA’s Lucinda Brewer. “There are so many complicated jurisdictional issues when somebody is assaulted overseas.”

Andrea Proctor could attest to that. While studying abroad in Wales, she went to Scotland for a weekend where she was sexually assaulted. Proctor had difficulty getting help overseas, and even when she returned to the U.S., she kept running into dead ends and victim blaming. 

“Different agencies would ask why I didn't report when I was there,” said Proctor. “I was drugged and intoxicated, I couldn't give consent and when I understood I was raped, I wasn't in the country anymore.”

When Proctor reached SASHAA, the nonprofit got police in Scotland to investigate her case.

“I've had more happy tears than sad tears since finding SASHAA,” said Proctor. “It's amazing what an organization can do.”

SASHAA was trying to raise non-governmental funding to stay open. Brewer said they had enough funding to stay open until January.

“These are the services that are at risk,” said Brewer. Not just for the 105 sexual assault cases SASHAA case managers were working on, but for the victims Brewer said would certainly need their help in the future, while far away from home. 

“It could happen to anyone,” she said.

Those interested in donating to SASHA can do so here.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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