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Cleveland Rape Crisis Center calls for increased awareness after Deshaun Watson suspension

The Center is asking people to get involved to help survivors
Deshaun Watson
Posted at 2:31 PM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 18:45:46-04

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center is speaking out in the wake of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s suspension, calling for people to act in support of survivors of sexual abuse.

Donisha Greene, the Director of Community Engagement for the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, said she believes the Watson settlement will inspire others to get involved with programs that help victims of abuse.

“We are hopeful that this story is propelling the anti-sexual violence movement to a level where it gets the attention and resources that it deserves,” Greene said.

Greene said it’s easy for people to get involved and increase awareness. The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center offers training and counselors to survivors and their allies. It also provides outreach programs for community centers and places of worship.

“Very simply, they can participate in one of our upcoming ambassador trainings, taking skills in preventing sexual violence and aligning with survivors,” Greene said. “Lastly, they can invest in the work and the mission of the Rape Crisis Center by donating.”

Although the Watson settlement can have a positive impact by bringing awareness, Greene said the continued coverage of the Watson case can be triggering for survivors of abuse.

“It's a trigger,” Greene said. “And, you know, for some people who thought that maybe they kind of worked through the trauma of their experiences, they hear a story like this, and it brings up all sorts of feelings and they need to talk to someone.”

Greene said the Rape Crisis Center stands with Watson’s accusers and will continue to offer its services to those who need them.

“What we know is that justice and healing look different for every single survivor; it's not always the same,” Greene said. “And so there's always work that's going to need to be done.”

The Rape Crisis Center echoed a similar message yesterday in its official statement, released immediately following the news of Watson’s suspension.

"While traditional avenues of criminal justice may have failed his accusers, today’s NFL and NFLPA settlement of increased punishment is a step towards validating their experiences. Healing comes to survivors in many forms. Cleveland Rape Crisis Center believes and supports survivors. Continued headlines are triggering for many. Our staff is available 24/7/365 online or by calling/texting (216) 619-6192.”

Greene said that even though Watson’s suspension is now in the past, there is still work to be done.

“You know, our space is with survivors and we're going to continue to stay in that space and do the work,” Greene said. “We just want survivors to know that we believe we hear you, we see you, your story matters and your experiences matter also.”

Deshaun Watson will serve an 11 game suspension and pay a $5 million fine after a settlement was reached between Watson’s team, the NFL and the NFL Players Association.