Dear Athena Project Community,
We’d like to share that, in consultation with the Athena Project, Sonoma Academy has established a therapy fund. The fund will be administered by RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. It will assist alumni and former students who experienced sexual misconduct and related violence, as well as those who were indirectly affected by sexual misconduct, while at Sonoma Academy with costs related to therapy. The Athena Project encourages anyone who has been the victim of sexual misconduct, indirect harm related to sexual misconduct, or physical violence by a Sonoma Academy employee to contact RAINN to complete the intake process.
This fund is available beginning today.
Here’s what you need to know:
- An independent, third-party claims administrator will work with RAINN to maintain the anonymity of all participants, review all claims, and process approved payments to therapists or as reimbursement to participants. All inquiries and financial assistance/reimbursement requests are anonymous, and Sonoma Academy will not receive any information from RAINN about those who access the Sonoma Academy Therapy Fund and the RAINN hotline.
- Up to $20,000 in funds will be available to cover therapy costs for trauma incurred as a result of misconduct and abuse. The fund will be available for three years.
- Any type of therapy is eligible, as long as the provider is licensed and must hold a master’s degree or higher in a mental health discipline. If alumni or former students feel that $20,000 is insufficient to address their needs, they may petition for further funds. These petitions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and the anonymity of the alum or former student will be protected during the petitioning process.
- Sonoma Academy is also willing to consider extending the RAINN fund to cover alumni and former students affected by sexual misconduct perpetrated by another student, should the Debevoise and Plimpton investigation find that the Sonoma Academy administration mishandled such incidents.
- RAINN is required by the state of California to make a report on every intake. RAINN can note if a victim/survivor does not want to be contacted, but it is up to Child Protect Services and/or law enforcement to determine whether or not they will follow up, regardless of the wishes of the survivor. It’s entirely an individual choice whether or not to engage with any investigation. If you are comfortable doing so, cooperating with law enforcement and other officials can aid in holding perpetrators accountable. You should also be aware that if you share the name of any current employee, RAINN will share the name of that employee with the school. Additionally, if you report the abuse of a current student, RAINN will report that information to the school.
For further information about the specifics of the therapy fund, you can call the RAINN hotline, which is specifically for Sonoma Academy students and alumni and is operated by RAINN, at 833-893-0117. The hotline is staffed Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am-7:00 pm ET (excluding federal holidays and RAINN closures).
For immediate crisis intervention, information, and resources available 24/7, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or hotline.rainn.org.
You can also visit Sonoma Academy’s FAQ page on their website to learn more about the RAINN fund.
The therapy fund is a step in the right direction, and we are glad to have been able to play a role in providing resources for alumni and former students affected by abuse, misconduct, and administrative negligence at Sonoma Academy.
We look forward to continuing to work with Sonoma Academy towards full accountability and repair for the decades of harm caused by institutional failures and negligence.
Thank you for your ongoing support,
Miranda, Clio, Morgan, Savannah, Grace, Emma, and Linnet