Rape and Sexual Assault Survivors Fear Budget Impasse May Impact New Victims

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Springfield - Dozens of women who filled the Capitol's rotunda on Thursday had several things in common, including being survivors of sexual assault and rape.

"I'm a survivor of childhood battery and sexual abuse as well as adult sexual assault," said Susan Pacheco Hollinger.

Dana Shanholtzer added,"in addition to the sexual assault, my car was stolen, there was damage to my home, and I was also robbed."

They're not only survivors of violent attacks, they're also advocates for others.  They're calling on the governor and lawmakers to end the budget impasse in the name of those who rely on programs to help victims of rape and sexual assault.

"When domestic violence programs close their doors, there may not be a single other place for survivors to turn in their community.  The time is now for our elected officials to sit down together and figure out a budget for rest of this fiscal year.  The time is now to put aside ideological differences and to think about Illinois citizens," said Vickie Smith, executive director at the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Pacheco Hollinger added,"why is it that we, the marginalized, the at risk, and already traumatized are slated to pay for those governmental mistakes?  I, together with those present and those unable to attend, proclaim that the financial mess of the state of Illinois is not our fault."

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