LEESBURG, Va. (WDVM) — When a rape victim leaves the hospital, they have to leave their clothes behind for evidence. A national nonprofit is making sure the patients don’t have to leave their dignity behind, too.
Project Beloved is a nonprofit that was founded in memory of Molly Matheson, a 22-year-old woman who was raped and murdered in Texas. Her family educates and advocates for sexual assault survivors in North Carolina and Texas, and on Tuesday volunteers donated over 50 “beloved bundles” of clothes and toiletries for survivors who are treated at Inova Loudoun Hospital’s Forensic Assessment and Consultation Team (FACT) Department.
The bundles are filled with t-shirts and sweatpants in men’s and women’s sizes, toiletries, a stress ball, a water bottle, and a notebook. Each one is packed by volunteers across the country, including Bob Caines and Lisa Rueda, family friends of the Mathesons.
“Once we got the people together and got the bundles together,” said Rueda, “We’re able to talk about how else we can support and what other things we can do in Virginia to raise awareness.”
Coincidentally, Project Beloved and Inova Loudoun’s FACT Department were both founded on April 10.
“The priority is that they’re healthy, that they’re safe, and that we can empower them so they can start to regain a sense of control over their bodies and over what they choose to have happened going forward,” said Inova Loudoun’s FACT Department director Mary Hale.
In May of 2019, Inova Loudoun and Inova Fairfax Hospitals treated 121 sexual assault survivors.