YWCA Drive 2023

Photo source: YWCA of the University of Illinois

Photo source: YWCA of the University of Illinois

Justin Doucette, Assistant Editor

“It is important to learn about our services because there is a need in our community, actually there is a need everywhere,” says Renee Mcguire, director of the Haverhill YWCA, “domestic violence and sexual assaults do not discriminate; it affects everyone.”

Every two hours, one person is sexually assaulted in the state of Massachusetts. 

4,418 adolescents and adults are sexually assaulted each year in Massachusetts.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been raped, stalked, or experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner in Massachusetts.

Throughout March, the Pentucket National Honour Society will be collecting items for the Haverhill YWCA. The items donated will be used by the organization for both residents and sexual assault survivors who have sought medical and legal attention. 

The items to be collected are as follows:

  • Packages of underwear, socks, and sports bras
  • T-Shirts, leggings
  • Sweatshirts, sweatpants
  • Books, journals, pens, phone chargers
  • Toothpaste/toothbrushes, shampoo/conditioner, hairbrushes, soaps/body wash, deodorant, towels
  • Stuffed animals for children
  • Gift cards for Market Basket, CVS, Walmart, etc

The drop-off locations are at the front entrance of the high school or Student Services, the Groveland and Merrimac Libraries, and Roger Williams Barber Company in Merrimac.

These items will be used to create care packages to be distributed to sexual assault and violence survivors once arrived at the hospital, as well as to residents at the YWCA. The care packages are essential to this drive; once admitted, a “rape kit” is administered to the survivor, and their clothes are taken into evidence. The clothes in the packages will allow comfort, as opposed to a hospital gown. The books and journals will allow a distraction and serve as a place to jot down thoughts and feelings to begin the healing process. The phone charger will allow survivors to stay in contact with friends and family, and arrange a safe place once released. 


The YWCA Organization and Mission


Mcguire “oversee[s] Domestic and Sexual Assault services,” which include crisis intervention, both individual and group counselling, advocacy in legal and medical pursuits, as well as “outreach in the community and schools.” The work done within the community provides adolescents and young adults with the tools to notice domestic violence and sexual assault, allowing them to understand how to stand up for themselves and others before an issue escalates. Presentations and workshops allow communities to create safe environments for each resident, where individuals learn the difference between love and aggression, dominance, and abuse. 

At this age, it is imperative that young adults learn what is healthy and what is not, so they can evaluate the actions of those with which they hold relationships. Young people exposed to violence and abuse in association to love are more likely to mimic those behaviors later in life or be drawn to those who exhibit similar actions, which is why early intervention is a necessity. 

This drive is more than about clothing and necessities; it is setting a precedent for respecting others and valuing humans as individuals. As a community, we have the opportunity to help women and children fleeing from abuse, and make survivors feel comfortable when seeking care and justice. 

If we each do our part in this drive, we will help to continue the services offered by the YWCA, and lend a hand in protecting a “safe environment for [survivors] to begin the process of healing.”