Local church women adopt Lily Bag Project for rape victims

— Submitted photo
The contents of a Lily Bag for rape and sexual assault victims includes a hand towel, wash cloth, socks, toiletries and prayer labyrinth.The Women of the ELCA at Trinity Lutheran Church in Webster City are making and donating the bags to the Story County SART (Sexual Assault Response Team).

The Women of the ELCA at Trinity Lutheran Church, Webster City are making, and donating Lily Bags to Story County SART (Sexual Assault Response Team). The bags include items that a rape victim might need after a sexual assault exam and items that are needed if the victim needs to be placed in a “safe place”: Underpants, washcloth, finger towel, soap, body wash, lotion, shampoo, comb, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, as well as a message of inspiration and strength and a finger labyrinth for meditation.

In addition to the Lily Bags, the Women of the ELCA also donate clothes for those who have had to give up their clothes for evidence.

During a forensic sexual assault medical exam, quite often the clothes the victim has on needs to be taken for evidence, including any underclothes that are worn. Without the items supplied in the Lily Bags, many victims may have to leave the hospital in paper scrubs. Also, there are victims who do not feel safe returning home. These victims are therefore placed in a safe home or shelter and need basic toiletries along with clothes.

The Lily Bags are so named due to the symbol on the front of the bags, a Lily, which is the logo for the Women of the ELCA. The Lily represents strength, beauty and vitality. The idea was adopted from the Lily Project in Northwestern Pennsylvania which were inspired by the West Virginia-Western Maryland SWO, whom were making similar kits.

A member of the Women of the ELCA, Trinity, Webster City, was reading about the project in the organizations national periodical and asked her daughter, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner for Story County, if this would be something that would be needed here in Iowa. Saying that the Lily Bags are very much needed and well received would be an understatement. Currently the Lily bags are donated to Mary Greeley Medical Center and Iowa State University in Ames, as well as Story County Medical Center in Nevada.

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