The New York State Office of Victims Services is investing $5 million for the State University of New York to build on the “SUNY’s Got Your Back” Comfort Bag Program.
The program is geared toward providing immediate comfort to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Comfort bags include self-care items like soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb and deodorant, a pen, notepad, a stress ball and an affirming message from a volunteer. Most importantly, the bags also contain information about available support services and educational tools to provide victims with knowledge of their rights under New York State law.
According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, about 20 people per minute are physically abused nationwide by an intimate partner.
One in five women and one in 71 men in the U.S. have been raped in their lifetime
A total of 225,000 comfort bags will be distributed to anyone seeking help at hospitals, rape crisis centers and shelters.
“I think it’s good that he’s thinking of people like this, just, there’s not much he can do from his position, but it’s good that he has these people in his thoughts,” Hannah Sterlace, a student at Corning Community College, said.
“I think that the idea of giving comfort bags to the victims is a great idea, and I think that it’s something that will be well received, I’m just not sure it’s the government’s place to do that,” Anna Despain, resident of Corning, said.
“I think it’s important that Andrew Cuomo did that because, the college needs more counseling and needs more support on that,” Aran Holland, student at Corning Community College, said.
“Any help a victim can receive is fantastic,” Carrie House, Director of Domestic Violence Services for Arbor Housing and Development, said.
House said a lot of the victims who relocate, leave with little to nothing. She said community outreach for donations is very important to them.
As students head back to school at this time of the year, Governor Cuomo said the bags, providing immediate comfort for victims, also help raise awareness of these issues throughout SUNY campuses.
The New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (1-800-942-6906) offers help and information 24 hours a day.