Congrats to FORGE

Posted by – October 2, 2009

Today, FORGE snagged the second largest grant given to a transgender organization. From their press release:

Less than a month after starting a 3-year, nearly $300,000 federally-funded project to improve the nation’s sexual violence and criminal justice professionals’ ability to respectfully and appropriately serve transgender survivors of sexual violence, FORGE has been awarded a second federal grant to provide direct services to transgender survivors and SOFFA (Significant Others, Friends, Family and Allies).

The second grant, from the Office of Violence Against Women, allocates $299,987 to fund three years of FORGE-run outreach and direct services to transgender sexual assault survivors (of all genders) living anywhere in the United States.  Under the new grant and with the help of member sub-organizations of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, FORGE will:

  • Expand its existing peer support listserv and revamp and update its web-based resource center (www.forge-forward.org/transviolence) for transgender (and other) survivors of sexual assault and SOFFAs.
  • Recruit, train, and supervise volunteers to provide individualized information and referral to transgender survivors of sexual assault and SOFFAs, and to staff a Buddy Program that provides one-on-one, ongoing support to survivors and SOFFAs.
  • Develop and disseminate three guides: “A Self-Help Guide for Transgender Sexual Violence Survivors,” “A Guide for SOFFAs of Transgender Sexual Violence Survivors,” and “A Guide to Finding a Trans-Savvy Sexual Violence Therapist” (years two and three).
  • Adapt FORGE’s existing Writing to Heal materials for delivery via the web and/or teleconference, to make these highly-rated services available to survivors and SOFFAs nationwide (years two and three).
  • Provide direct outreach, materials dissemination, and/or advertising at transgender conferences.

Studies conducted by FORGE and other researchers have found extremely high rates of sexual violence against transgender people, with approximately one in two transgender people having survived sexual assaults.  This project is designed to closely meet the needs and preferences of transgender sexual violence survivors as uncovered by a national survey FORGE conducted in 2004.  Among the study’s key findings:

  • Transgender survivors and SOFFAs have an ongoing need for support that may last more than a decade after the assault(s).
  • Transgender survivors prefer to use individual therapists, friends, partners, and self-help materials as opposed to existing mainstream sexual assault services.  Because of this, SOFFAs of transgender people need significant education and support of their own.
  • Transgender survivors often desire to have discussion and support around transgender-specific issues such as how a sexual assault history might impact (trans)gender identity and how to find a therapist that can competently address both a sexual assault history and a survivor’s possible desire to access hormones and/or surgery.
  • Transgender survivors and SOFFAs often express a sense of hopelessness, isolation, and permanent “brokenness.”  The Buddy Program is designed to break this isolation and link survivors with trained peers who are further along the healing path and who can provide hope, support, and guidance.

FORGE was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Its Executive Director, michael munson, is available to answer questions about this or other FORGE projects.  He can be reached at tgwarrior@forge-forward.org or by calling 414-559-2123.

2 Comments on Congrats to FORGE

  1. This will sound horrible, but I honestly was mortified when I went to the FORGE website and saw that they do not even begin to talk about how sexual assault affects transwomen. :-\
    Given the high numbers of young, extremely vulnerable trans women engaging in sex work –I am a little shocked that none of these issues seem to even be raised on their website. That said I am SO EXCITED that they received federal funds, perhaps the first time ever for a trans specific non-profit. But wow. 2009 and transwomen aren’t even on their website? Really? A bit of a disappointment.

  2. helenboyd says:

    I felt similarly, Danielle. Hopefully with this new grant they will begin addressing that fact.

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