For sexual assault survivors who may be forced to quarantine with their abuser during the COVID-19 pandemic, support is available, according to the founder of an Oneonta charity.

Through donations, Threads of Serenity provides provides brand new sheets, blankets and clothing to sexual assault and rape survivors during their investigations, said founder Heather Nemo. She said any time a sexual assault and a rape is reported, these things are taken as evidence to be tested, which may leave the survivor without.

“Often times, when you go to a hospital, they’ll take your clothes right then and there, and sadly and unfortunately you’ll leave the hospital in a hospital gown,” Nemo said. “My organization steps in and helps provide those things for the survivors.”

Those in need can call Nemo anytime for assistance finding a safe place to go, for hotline numbers and other resources or just for an open ear, she said.

“My phone is always open,” Nemo said. “If they need help with getting in touch with hotline numbers I will help them. I will do the best I can to help in any way I can. If they need help with resources, I’ll provide help with resources. I’m available 24/7 and if I miss their call they’ll get a call back.”

As a rape survivor herself, Nemo said she wants to provide others a service that she wished she’d had when she was younger.

“You do feel alone, you feel isolated, you feel like the only one going through this,” Nemo said. “I don’t want anyone to feel that way, so if I have to sit on the phone with you at 2 a.m. until 5:30, until you get help, then so be it. That’s what I’ll do.”

Anyone needing help can call or text 607-218-2180 or email threadsofserenityorg@gmail.com, Nemo said. This includes abused children who no longer have the protection of school because of pandemic-related closures.

“A lot of times, school was children’s safe places and that was their happy spot,” Nemo said. “Sadly, children are not always blessed with safe and loving homes and they’re at the hands of their abusers.”

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network’s website, one out of every six American women and one out of every American 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Calling the organization at 800-656-4673 will connect the caller with a staff member from a sexual assault service provider in their area, according to its website. 

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website, in eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18, according to the website.

To learn more about Threads of Serenity, visit its Facebook page.

 

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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