Press Release – May 22, 2015
Charlottesville, VA: The Sexual Assault Advocacy Fund (SAAF), formerly known as the UVrApe Alumni Victims Defense Fund, signed a formal memorandum of understanding partnering with Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (CVLAS) to provide an experienced attorney, Palma Pustilnik, to meet with UVA student sexual violence survivors and serve as their legal advocate regardless of what route, if any, a survivor chooses to pursue. Even before this formal agreement, Counselor Pustilnik has taken on student clients this Spring semester, some of whom contacted the fund directly looking for representation.
In addition, SAAF is launching a new website, studentsaaf.org, to better promote their legal services to students. The Crowdrise fundraising site will be taken down as the new website can process donations at a lower fee. Thanks to the partnership with Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, all future donations will qualify as tax deductible since CVLAS is a 501C3 nonprofit organization.
SAAF’s goal is to provide free, professional legal services to student survivors of sexual violence at the University of Virginia for the next five year. In order to properly fund a full time hire (SAAF Services Coordinator), cover potential court fees, and market legal services to students, SAAF is kicking off a campaign to raise $500,000. To date, SAAF has raised over $32,000.
SAAF was started by Lisa Richey, an alumna of the University of Virginia (CLAS ’03) as a response to the Rolling Stone article, “A Rape on Campus.” Despite the controversy surrounding the story, SAAF, like UVA, remains committed to championing survivors of sexual violence and ensuring access to unbiased legal representation to students at the University.