Members of the Los Altos/Mountain View branch of the American Association of University Women recently met for their annual Holiday Tea at the Los Altos home of Allyson Johnson.
In addition to enjoying coffee, Christmas treats and conversation, the group listened to a presentation from Lisa Blanchard, founder and director of the Grateful Garment Project.
The Grateful Garment Project grew out of a college project begun by Blanchard. She learned that victims of sexual assault, after being subjected to rape-kit testing, were left with nothing but a paper hospital gown to go home in, as their clothing was taken for evidence. She resolved to provide dignity to the victims in the form of clothing and other items.
The project expanded from a service for rape victims at a single San Jose hospital to a program that serves victims of sexual assault and sex trafficking in 48 of California’s 58 counties. The program also works with safe houses and shelters for victims who have no safe place to go after being rescued from sex trafficking.
Blanchard’s presentation was especially meaningful to the Los Altos women, who had recently read news stories about a massage parlor and a nail salon in Los Altos acting as a front for prostitution.
Blanchard said it was likely that the women involved were trafficked from out of the country, and they had very few resources once rescued from their exploiter. The Grateful Garment project serves such victims.
AAUW members who attended the tea contributed clothing, gift cards and checks in support of the project as part of their holiday outreach.
For more information on the Grateful Garment Project, visit gratefulgarment.org.
For more information on the local branch of the AAUW, visit lamv-ca.aauw.net.