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Budget cuts may close down rape crisis center - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Budget cuts may close down rape crisis center

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

The director of a Charleston based rape crisis center said Tuesday her agency may have to close down if budget cuts ordered by the governor go through.

People Against Rape executive director Melonea Marek said the 37% budget cut will mean a cut in services to victims of sexual assault.

"I see what a difference we make and I don't know what we are gonna do," a tearful Marek said. "I sit in that office and I see the victims go in there and I see the difference that it makes."

According to Marek, People Against Rape's annual budget is $325,000.

The agency gets $51,136 in state funds.

If the governor's proposed 37% cut happens, the agency will get only $32,216 dollars from the state.

"If we get the 37% cut, I honestly don't know how we're gonna survive," Marek warned.

She said her staff members are always there for victims, accompanying them to the hospital for the rape test kit and also to court for hearings and trials.

The agency also sponsors the annual "Take Back the Night" march and rally for sexual assault awareness.

"This is so important to this community, to our victims. It means who's gonna do it? Who's gonna help the victims if we're not here?" Marek said. "I know we're in desperate times, I know that, but the victim needs don't change, they still need us."

People Against Rape's future is now in the hands of state lawmakers who have the option of overriding Governor Haley's veto.

"It's very scary. I'm very scared, mostly for our clients, that's who I'm really scared for," Marek said.

The legislature is scheduled to take up Haley's veto in a special session next week.

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