Nonprofit: Combat Sexual Assault

Nonprofit Spotlight: Combat Sexual Assault

Combat Sexual Assault is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering MST survivors and their families to exercise their rights. It is CSA’s mission to help survivors of military sexual violence find their voice and overcome barriers to obtaining justice. Additionally, they fight to disrupt the cultural stigma surrounding the disclosure of these crimes.

Addressing a Critical Epidemic

Despite the DOD spending millions of dollars annually to address sexual assault, harassment, and retaliation, these issues continue to be a persistent stain on the US Military. Military sexual violence is an epidemic that affects both women and men, service members and civilians. It diminishes military readiness, destroys unit cohesion, and can have devastating, long-lasting effects on survivors and their families.

Combat Sexual Assault was founded to address this epidemic. They do so by fighting for survivors and working to change the legal and cultural landscape that surrounds it.

Founder and Executive Director Linsey Knapp created Combat Sexual Assault after Army Special Forces Command fired her for challenging a biased outcome in a Delta Force rape trial. Her nonprofit has since worked tirelessly to combat these systemic issues within the DOD. And Knapp is well qualified for the job—as an Army Veteran, a lawyer, and someone who has personally advocated for victims of sexual violence for more than 20 years.

Knapp’s experience fighting for a victim’s justice only to be fired by the Army was recently detailed in Rolling Stone. It is just one eye-opening example of how stacked the system can be against survivors, while often protecting service members who commit sexual crimes.

How Combat Sexual Assault Empowers Survivors

Understanding that each situation is unique, CSA tailors unique approaches based on each client’s needs. They are trained to provide special victims counsel for MST, and assist with veteran benefits, discharge upgrades, and Inspector General/Office of General Counsel complaints.

The Empowerment Protocol

Trauma affects both mind and body in ways that can be difficult to unravel. Combat Sexual Assault created the Empowerment Protocol to offer MST survivors a comprehensive online program based on trauma-informed movement. The Empowerment Protocol currently includes a variety of healing, yoga-based classes to help calm the mind, heal the body, and gently recalibrate the nervous system.

This protocol is offered in partnership with the Sanford Yoga and Community Center. Classes are available online and you can find more information here.

Disrupting the Cultural Stigma of Sexual Assault

From education to congressional advocacy, Combat Sexual Assault seeks to change how MST is addressed at all levels.

Education is the main key to changing perspectives and disrupting the stigma surrounding sexual assault. CSA offers trauma-informed training programs to educate the military, local law enforcement, students, and other community partners to better respond, react and prevent sexual violence.

When it comes to advocacy, much of CSA’s efforts are focused on engaging congressional leaders.  The goal is to tackle the difficult issue of sexual assault in the military and enact meaningful change.

Voice Your Experience to Congress

CSA is currently collecting stories from survivors who experienced sexual assault while serving in the military. Submissions are open to Active Duty, Reserve, Veterans and Family Members, and you are welcome to submit openly or anonymously. CSA will share your narrative with congress in an effort to stop this from happening to someone else. To share your story or learn more about this project, contact executivedirector@combatsexualassault.org.

To learn more about Combat Sexual Assault, please visit their website, Instagram and Facebook.

Giving Back

From now through May 6th, 2022, a portion of all sales in the Lady Vet Shop will be donated directly to Combat Sexual Assault to help further their important work in the Military and Veteran space.

Lady Vet is supportive of nonprofit organizations doing the best work to address the most pressing issues women Veterans face. If you know of a relevant nonprofit we should be highlighting, please reach out to hello@ladyvetusa.com for consideration.

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