I took an Oath to protect the Constitution. Now here are my Constitutional rights. Written by Isabella Francis Mazotti
I tried to talk to call my Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) but….
A. The number was disconnected
B. She never returned my phone call
C. She hung up on me
That is the most common responses from a survivor regarding a SARC that they tried to contact. Being a volunteer with the Military Rape Crisis Center I am starting an investigating on why SARCs are notorious for not returning phone calls. I’ll start with my homestate of Massachusetts. The Military Rape Crisis Center headquarters is located in Massachusetts which only naturally means the majority of the clients seeking in-person services are from the Massachusetts National Guard. I am not calling them just for the sake of calling but I do have a legit reason to talk to them regarding several clients. I do have waivers from all the clients to speak on their behalf about their cases. Right now I am calling on behalf of rape victims in the Massachusetts National Guard.
Here is their homepage
According to their website:
“The SARC position is filled with a full-time service member to ensure 24 hour availability.”
So I am starting this project at exactly 1738 on Friday the 28th of January. See if they really are available 24/7 as they claim to be.
Mrs. Jersouk Touy- JFHQ Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) at (508) 233-6834. No Answer.
“Joint Headquarters SARC” said the machine. I did not leave a message
On to the 2nd name on the list:
MSG Sally Taylor from the 51st Troop Command Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)
phone number: (508) 233-7905. No answer
Maj. John Martorana from JFHQ HHD
phone number: (508) 233-6834 That the same number as Mrs. Jersouk Touy. Once again I reached the machine.
MAJ Nicole Ivers from the 102nd Fighter Wing at (508) 274-6839. No answer
MAJ Matthew Mutti from the 104th Fighter Wing
(413) 568-9151- Ext 1800 Machine answered: His title that he gave on his voicemail was Executive Officer–the XO is doubling as a SARC?
Okay last person on the list:
1LT Kelly Souza from the 26th Manuever Enhanced Brigade
Her phone number is not listed but having access to the Military Rape Crisis Center rolodex I was able to find her number: She did not answer
It is now 1751 and after five attempts I was not able to reach a live person.
Let me try email
Email to: MAJ Nicole Ivers
Email to MAJ Matthew Mutti. Remember he is also the Executive Officer of the 104th Fighter Wing.
Email to 1LT Kelly Souza
The rest went through.Luckily for us we have worked a lot with the Mass National Guard and we have a whole range of other numbers and emails. Our clients are going to get the help that they need even if the SARC’s hired by the Massachusetts National Guard are not readily accessiable like the website clams that they are. Even though our clients are going to be able to get the help that they need not everyone has access to our rolodex or email list.
Now imagine if I was Active Duty and I was just assaulted. Afraid, angry, and confused. I want to talk to a SARC but where are they? What if I was overseas? I called my SARC and nobody picks up. I send an email and it gets bounce right back to me. A person who may have just experienced the worst trauma in their lives may get fed up and change their mind and not report it or not get help. They want you to report an assault but they do not make it easy. What if you are the parent of a woman that was raped and you want resources for her? Or you can be just someone like me, a service provider trying to speak to a SARC for a client.
The military rape crisis center is available at http://www.stopmilitaryrape.org and their emails won’t be bounced back. We are also available doing regular business hours at 617-381-4795 and return phone calls within 12 hours during non-business hours or if we not in the office. We wish that we could be 24/7 but the funding at the moment does not allow us to offer emergency services. If you been assaulted call 911 or report it to a Chaplin or the Military Police. If it is an option get a rape kit done at a civilian hospital.