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The "It Happened to Alexa Foundation" Announces its Launch and Mission to Assist Rape and Sexual Assault Victims

Submitted by: Prudential Financial, Inc.

Categories: Community Development

Posted: May 08, 2003 – 12:00 AM EST

 

Organization Serves as the Only Nonprofit Offering Rape Victims’ Families Financial Assistance During Criminal Trials

May 08 /CSRwire/ - BUFFALO, NY – The It Happened To Alexa Foundation announced today that the organization will mark its launch at a reception, presented by Prudential Financial, Inc., to be held at the historic Butler Mansion in Buffalo on May 16, 2003.

The organization was founded by the parents of a rape survivor, Prudential Financial, Inc. financial planner Thomas Branchini and his wife, Stacey. The focus of the Foundation is to support other survivors and their families through the trauma of the criminal trial, in the hopes that more women will go through with prosecution in order to put perpetrators behind bars.

The It Happened To Alexa Foundation will provide grants to rape victims who reside in the U.S., and who are about to testify in a criminal trial. The grants are allocated to cover the expenses of a support person or persons who will accompany the rape/sexual assault victim to court.

Foundation Background

When Tom and Stacey Branchini drove their daughter, Alexa, to Boston University in September 1999 to begin her freshman year in college, the last thing they expected was a phone call ten days later telling them their daughter had been raped in her dormitory and was in a Boston hospital. It was the phone call that every parent dreads.

Alexa was one of the few rape victims whose ordeal actually resulted in a trial and the conviction of her assailant. Eighteen months after Alexa was raped, the trial was finally under way. To support Alexa during the trial, both psychologically and physically, the Branchinis flew from Buffalo, NY to Massachusetts numerous times. Alexa and her parents spent 27 days in Boston for the trial all of which resulted in substantial expenses.

“Our family could not imagine Alexa having to go through the ordeal of a trial alone. Going back to the crime scene, reliving the ordeal in order to prepare for trial, then actually being in the courtroom with the rapist who assaulted her,” said Tom Branchini. “We wondered about other rape victims whose families were not able to afford the trip and planned the Foundation to help ease the financial burden other families face while supporting their loved one through a criminal trial.”

Alexa’s testimony was worth it. Her rapist was convicted and sentenced to 40-45 years in prison, with no chance of parole.

Grant applications are available on the Foundation’s website, along with other resource information. Qualified support persons, eligible to submit applications, are parents, guardians, other family members or close friends of the survivor.

Public financial support is important and needed to continue the It Happened To Alexa Foundation’s efforts to provide grants to rape victims. The It Happened To Alexa Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Information about how to make donations is on the website It Happened to Alexa

The It Happened To Alexa Foundation’s mission is to provide women who have been victims of rape or sexual assault with grants to assist family members in attending a court trial. Recognizing the undue financial burden imposed on the victim and family, the Foundation offers a limited number of grants to defray costs of transportation and housing, in order that the family may attend and take part in the criminal justice proceedings and support the victim at this most difficult time. The Million Dollar Roundtable is underwriting the first round of the Foundation’s grants.

The Foundation hopes to encourage more sexual assault victims to report to law enforcement, so that rapists can be brought to justice. Only one in five rapes is ever reported to law enforcement, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. For more information, visit www.ithappenedtoalexa.org.

For more information, please contact:

Phone: +1-716-882-4712
Phone: +1-973-802-6852

 

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