Government shutdown threatening Fayetteville center for rape victims

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The government shutdown is now threatening agencies that help rape victims.

In Fayetteville, the Rape Crisis Center lost its federal funding. Now advocates worry they’ll shut down.

Employees showed up for work all week knowing they wouldn’t get paid. 

“It doesn’t make sense to not be here and to risk taking away the support and services. It’s a re-victimization in my eyes,” said cold case victim advocate Kelsey Gawinski. 

The advocacy center depends on federal grant money to pay advocates and help rape victims report the crime, get counseling and go through the court process. That money has been put on hold because of the government shutdown.

The deputy director says how long the shutdown lasts could decide whether the Rape Crisis Center will shut down. 

“We could only sustain for a short amount of time, so depending on how long it continues depends on how long we could actually leave the door open. Eventually, some of us will have to apply for unemployment,” said deputy director Ze Surratt II.

She says one worker has already left to find another source income, but there are four left at the center, now working with no pay. 

Advocates say they’re at work 40-plus hours a week. This is the first week they’ve done it without pay, but if the government opens back up soon, they say they’ll get back pay. 

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