By Dawn Dalton and Sharmili Majmudar
Chris was raped by a friend. Kiran was degraded and humiliated at home every night after work. Mischelle is living a life filled with violence and shame. Maria was beaten in front of her children by their father. Stories like these are all too common.

These survivors were assisted by the sexual assault and domestic violence agencies across Chicago and Illinois. They received counseling, legal advocacy, shelter and support in escaping the violence in their lives. Because of this, they no longer are trapped by abuse, but have found healing, safety and justice.

On May 31 our state legislators passed a budget that decimated the infrastructure of human services throughout the state. Due to this action, agencies laid off staff, closed offices in already underserved communities and cut services because the 60 to 100 percent cuts they received in contracts from the state. Domestic violence shelters closed and rape crisis centers operated at service levels as if it were 1979 as opposed to 2009. When the option was put forward for a tax increase versus meeting the needs of Illinois constituents, a vote was taken and decisions were made. Human needs are not important to our general assembly.

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