Niva was having the time of her life on vacation with her friends in Costa Rica They were enjoying the last of their summer before college began again last month. Niva and her friends met an international group of students on an overnight hiking and camping trip. Niva was in her sleeping bag in the middle of the night when one of the male students entered her tent, held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her if she screamed. He sexually assaulted her. When he was done, he told her if she told anyone he would say she was the one that invited him to her tent. Niva felt ashamed and afraid. The next morning the male student acted like nothing had happened. He laughted and joked with all of her friends. Niva was relieved when they went back to their hotel room she was sharing with her friends. Her friends kept asking her what was wrong. She told them she had a headache.
Niva came back to the USA and tried to forget the sexual assault happened. She began having nightmares and was afraid to go anywhere by herself. She called our crisis line and spoke to one of our advocates in our SASHAA Program, Sexual Assault Support & Help For Americans Abroad.
We connected Niva with a counselor. She will need counseling for a long time. She told us she wants to become an advocate herself one day when she is done healing.
Thank you for supporting Americans who have been sexually assaulted abroad! The SASHAA Team!
Laura was so excited to study abroad. She had heard that young American women that study abroad are often victims of sexual assault so she was cautious. She didn't go out at night alone and she dressed convervatively like the local women. Laura made a lot of friends, both young women and young men in the program. One young man she had befriended asked if he could come over to do some homework together. She considered him a friend and he made sexual advances towards her. She told him no. When she physically resisted he sexually assaulted her. He told her if she told anyone he would kill her.
Terrified she didn't tell anyone until the nightmares got to be too much. She called our crisis center and spoke to Lucy. We have been able to support Laura with safety planning, counseling and helped her get transferred to a different study abroad program. After she was safe in another country, she reported the sexual assault.
Without donations like yours we would not be able to offer the services we do to American victims of sexual assault overseas.
Cassandra was sexually assaulted while she was in Spain in a study abroad program. She was so ashamed, afraid to tell her parents, her friends and her study abroad program supervisor. When she called us, she revealed that her perpetrator was in her study abroad program. She had to see him every day. He taunted her, stalked her and she was living in constant fear of another attack. Our case manager, Marie, spent several weeks speaking to Cassandra every day on our international hotline. Finally, Marie and Cassandra came up with a plan to get Cassandra home while maintaining confidentiality so no one would know the real reason she wanted to leave Spain.
Cassandra is home now. Your donation helped her get safe. We found a counselor for her to help her overcome the trauma and shame she feels. She has a long way to go, but she is strong and resilient.
Thank you for caring about American sexual assault victims overseas like Cassandra.
We truly appreciate your support of American sexual assault victims overseas! Since we launched the website we have seen an increase in the number of victims seeking our services in the worst time of their lives.
This year already, 2014, we have assisted three American sexual assault victims. We would not be able to do this without donations like yours.
Here is what one of the victims told her SASHAA program case manager, Eva, over the phone:
"I feel like you have been the only light in this awful darkness. I can't tell my family about what happened. I feel they would blame me. I don't know what I would have done without you."
I can't thank you enough for chosing to donate to our sexual assault support project on Global Giving.
Earlier this year we were able to publish our SASHAA Program website! www.sashaa.org
With this website we are witnessing an ever increasing number of calls from American sexual assault victims who have found us on-line through our website.
This is because of donors like you who believe in our mission.
Here is a quote from one victim: "Having Lucinda as my case manager at such a terrible time in my life was my life-line. I had so many people telling me what to do, but Lucinda listened to me, asked me what I wanted, and told me that every decision was mine. She provided so much support to me. Thank you."
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