Dear Mayor, How Will You Help Survivors of Assault and Abuse?

By: Sondra Miller

Dear Mayor:

During your four-year term as mayor, we can estimate that nearly 4,000 residents will report a sex crime to the Cleveland Division of Police. During that same time, an additional 15,000 Cleveland residents will reach out to Cleveland Rape Crisis Center for support as they attempt to recover from recent or past sexual violence.

Survivors in Cleveland want to hear from you.

Survivors in Cleveland want to hear from you. What will you say to the women, men and children who fall victim to rape, sexual abuse or human trafficking?

I hope you will tell survivors that:

  • You are sorry that they have experienced this tragedy, especially in the city that we love.
  • What happened to them was not their fault. No one deserves to be hurt, raped, abused or trafficked.
  • You will leverage the full power and influence of your position to create a path to healing and justice for all victims of violence in our community.

These words can help people of all ages and genders who have experienced sexual violence move from suffering to recovery, and from victim to survivor.

What can be done to support that promise?

  • Make it a leadership priority to transform the city’s response to sexual violence. Know that we can do better. Aspire to excellence instead of accepting status quo.
  • Inspire the dramatic cultural change our criminal justice system needs. From first-responders to investigators to city prosecutors and beyond, empower these professionals with the knowledge and training required to innovate and transform our institutions.
  • Infuse resources into the Cleveland Division of Police Sex Crimes & Child Abuse Unit and Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Equip us with the tools we need to support survivors and hold offenders accountable.
  • Embrace trauma-informed and victim-centered policies and practices in city departments, such as case reviews conducted by a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Promote and support collaboration between the city, Cuyahoga County and community-based organizations working together to prevent violence in all of its forms.

We believe in this city, and we believe in you. We are here to help.

We believe in this city, and we believe in you. We are here to help.

You can count on Cleveland Rape Crisis Center to bring our expert care, our specialized knowledge and our best solutions to your table. We are committed to supporting survivors, promoting healing and prevention and advocating for social change.

Together, we can help rape, abuse and trafficking survivors recover, heal and thrive. Together, we can hold offenders accountable for the harm they cause. Together, we can keep our community safe and prevent violence before it happens.

Together, we can eradicate sexual violence.

Sondra Miller
President & CEO, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center