Domestic violence is not rare. It’s reported that around 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men will experience some sort of violence-related incident in their lives. But due to the stigma behind sexual violence and domestic abuse, many are too afraid to speak up from fear of the backlash they might get from their friend or families. Victims who are affected often run away from their situation with almost nothing in their possession. Domestic violence shelters need to have goods and supplies in their possession to help victims regain composure and find a way to move forward with their lives. This is why SUNY’s Got Your Back was started.
SUNY’s Got Your Back sets out to provide shelters across New York State bags filled with basic necessities to give to domestic violence victims who come seeking support. Toothbrushes, hygiene products, stationary, and clothes are given to the victims and survivors to allow them to be comforted with things that they can call their own. These bags are the beginning of their new journey to a safe and caring environment that they need in order to regain their footsteps to success.
Partnerships have helped this program to grow into the success it is today. What started as an effort to fill 2,016 bags in 2016 has grown exponentially to this date. To get there, SUNY has teamed with the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA), the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV) and other companies to work together for the campaign. And to make this recognizable outside of New York, a partnership with the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Wives Association, and the PGA TOUR Champions have been invaluable in getting the word out.
Hundreds of attendees and dozens of volunteers did their part to fill bags at the 2018 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott (near Binghamton), NY. Along with system administration staff, volunteers from Binghamton University, SUNY Broome Community College, and SUNY Cortland joined attendees and helped fill the 25,000th comfort bag for SUNY’s Got Your Back. To top things off, the PGA TOUR Champions joined Broome County Community Charities, Inc. and presented a $5,000 donation to the SUNY’s Got Your Back program.
“With the support of The PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, and PGA TOUR Wives Association and the partnership with the New York State Office of Victims Services, State Police, Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Department of Health, and many others, we crossed the unfathomable 25,000 bag line (and many more) at the 2018 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open,” said SUNY Associate Counsel and program founder Joe Storch. “We are grateful to all those who played a part in this meaningful program and we look forward to returning to En-Joie for the 2019.”
SUNY’s Got Your back held it’s first event on April 4, 2018. In the short time since then, 865 days to be exact, more than 25,000 comfort bags have been filled and distributed throughout New York State. It’s the dedication of our students, staff, and community members that has driven this program to success, and we thank all of you for being a part of the effort.
Tiffanie is a Social Media Assistant Intern at SUNY System Administration. She is a senior at SUNY Albany double-majoring in Psychology and Communications.