The Fuel that Keeps Us Going

June 28, 2016 | BY Maile Zambuto | FILED UNDER JHF BLOG >

In light of the recent media attention and public outrage surrounding the Stanford University sexual assault case, our issues—and society’s response to survivors—are at the forefront of the national dialogue. This case and all that it represents hits home for me and in many ways, exemplifies my great hope and longing for justice. It touches me as someone who has been immersed in these issues all of my life, as a survivor working to heal every day from the trauma of sexual violence, and as an advocate for my entire career. In case you haven't had the opportunity, I invite you to take about seven minutes and please read my response here.    

Our collective attention and outrage can’t be limited to one case and a collection of headlines. We all need to be outraged today and every day that we live in a culture in which half our citizens are devalued, discriminated against, and dehumanized. We need to be outraged today and every day that one third of women in this country will be physically or sexually violated in her lifetime.

Today, I am filled with determination, pride, and gratitude. I believe with all my heart in our vision that this violence can and will end. Perhaps not in our lifetime, but I am fiercely determined to do everything I can to contribute to getting us closer to our vision. It is a privilege to do this work. And it the greatest privilege to do it at Joyful Heart. I’m grateful every day to lead this organization and to do so alongside our board, staff, committees, volunteers, and of course Mariska. And I am most grateful for the support of individual like you. You are the fuel that keeps us going. Together, in this year alone, and with your investment, we have:

  • Surpassed the 4 billion audience mark for our NO MORE PSA campaign without a penny spent on advertising, including the release of the of our NO MORE Male Survivor PSAs, in partnership with 1in6 and Viacom;
  • Reached the halfway mark in our research project with Georgetown University to create a scalable model for our signature Survivor Retreat program and make it available nationwide;
  • Uncovered over 175,000 untested rape kits across the country, more than 32,000 of  which were discovered through The Accountability Project, an initiative of our program;
  • Advocated for and secured $41 million in funding for rape kit reform in President Obama’s FY 17 budget, bringing the total amount of funds we unlocked to end the backlog to $125 million; and,
  • Published our victim notification report, a first-of its-kind resource, generously underwritten by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, that will guide jurisdictions working to eliminate their backlogs of untested rape kits in creating survivor-centered, trauma-informed policies and protocols for notifying survivors whose kits were part of the untested rape kit backlog.

The reality is, we've been stretched this year to do more than ever before to meet this moment. The Stanford case is a clear reminder for all of us just how critical our work is. Together, with your commitment and support, we will continue our work to transform society’s response to these issues, support survivors healing and we will end this violence forever.

I would be so grateful if you would consider making a contribution to stretch with us and help sustain our work. We have a $390k gap to our goal to raise from our community of supporters by our fiscal year end - just three days - and I can’t overemphasize what a difference it would make.

This weekend, a generous friend of JHF committed a $250,00 matching challenge gift to our Board, Committees, community of donors and new friends. If we are able to meet her match, we are confident that we can reach our goal - we are so close.

 As I’ve said, you are the fuel that keeps us going and we are asking for your support and partnership. THANK YOU. And if you feel you have family, friends or colleagues who would consider participating, please share this opportunity with them or we are happy to outreach directly - these issues touch all of our lives. .All we need is an email pledge or to give now, visit

Printer-friendly version

Facebook comments