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ARIZONA HEART & SOL: Local nonprofit raises awareness for survivors of sexual assault

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:41 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A University of Arizona student is raising awareness for survivors of sexual assault through a new nonprofit, making him this week’s Heart and Sol recipient.

“I knew that something needed to be done an I knew that I was going to be the one to do it,” UArizona freshman Jake Martin said.

He is looking to make a change in the lives of sexual assault survivors. So, he founded, “Survivor Shield.” It’s a nonprofit run by Martin and a small team of volunteers.

“One of the things that really made me want to do it was that I do know a few survivors. A few of my friends had disclosed to me and seeing them go through that pain and go through that situation where there’s almost nothing in the legal system that was there to support them. I knew that change had to be made and I knew that I had to become an advocate,” he explains.

One of “Survivor Shield’s” goals is to destigmatize being a survivor of sexual assault. The symbol of the nonprofit is a blue ribbon. Wearing the ribbon shows solidarity with survivors.

“This is one of the only crimes where the victim feels the blame for it. One of our goals is to destigmatize and it’s to create a feeling of community among survivors,” Martin said.

The nonprofit is just getting started. Donations go directly back into the community by helping survivors pay for therapy, recovery, and even hospital bills. Some funds will go to expanding the nonprofit so they can pursue legislative action on behalf of sexual assault survivors.

“Right now what we’re trying to do is make healthcare more accessible for survivors, make therapy more accessible for survivors and essentially do everything we can to provide a safer community and a better world for sexual assault survivors,” he says.

If you’d like to donate to “Survivor Shield,” you can find more information here.

If you have someone you think embodies the “Heart and Sol” of Tucson, you can nominate them here.

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