The rape crisis movement was developed in the early '70's based on a need for specific services for victims of sexual violence.
In Toledo, during 1972, one woman answered that need when a series of rapes were reported and several victims requested help from authorities. Offering assistance out of her home she quickly realized that she alone could not manage the number of callers being referred to her from local law enforcement.
A plea for help and volunteers went out to the community. Out of this effort Toledo United Against Rape was formed. The original five women began the task of recruiting people from the community to help, and enlisting help from law enforcement, medical personnel, and the prosecutor's office in establishing the team effort that still exists today.
Since its inception in 1972, rape crisis in Toledo has been primarily a volunteer group relying on women and men from the community to provide services. Volunteers are still active in all aspects of the operation of this Center.
In 1988, Toledo United Against Rape was faced with many challenges. The need for volunteers was critical and financial support was limited. The need to grow and meet the needs of an increase in people seeking help forced us to consider merging our group with a larger agency. The Board of TUAR began meeting with local directors of human service agencies to find a home for our service. The end result of our search was to accept the YWCA's proposal to merge with their agency.
January 4, 1989 was our first day of service as the YWCA Rape Crisis Center. Since that time we have expanded our service area to include all of northwest Ohio and parts of Michigan. The YWCA H.O.P.E. Center (formerly the Rape Crisis Center) offers 24-hour, 7 day crisis line availability for victims of sexual assault and their families and friends, support groups, and scheduled appointments at the office during business hours. Also, the Center offers emergency housing and financial aid if needed. Additional services include legal advocacy, hospital accompaniment, and help with state compensation claims. Our Speaker's Bureau offers general education for the community and professional training for the medical, legal, and social service venues on the management of the rape victim.
Throughout the years the volunteer component of the Center has received many awards from the local, state, and national levels for program structure and for the dedication and commitment of the volunteers.
The YWCA Northwest Ohio H.O.P.E. Center is one of the largest centers in Ohio, serving over 6,000 people a year requesting crisis services, support, education, information, and referral.
This Center was the first in Toledo, Ohio offering victim services. Due to this effort, additional services were formed to support battered women, victims of drunk drivers, and Parents of Murdered Children. All found their roots in the Rape Crisis movement and the efforts of one woman who answered a call for help.