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MBTA donates ad space to promote support for murder victims

Boston Herald - 2/9/2019

Feb. 09--MBTA bus and train riders will soon see signs and billboards aimed at raising awareness of trauma inflicted on Boston's women of color who may have suffered a loss of a loved one to murder and violence.

The ad space, donated by the MBTA Transit Police to the Women Survivors of Homicide Movement and Trauma Spa, are part of a new campaign to help women who may be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and other mental health illnesses seek resources and services they need.

"These are women who are hurting for a specific reason," said Mary Franklin, founder of Trauma Spa and Women Survivors of Homicide. "We are hurting. We are hurting in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan. We've been hurting for years. The city of Boston's community of color is hurting. This is urban trauma. This is black trauma."

Franklin, whose husband was murdered in 1996, created the project to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and get support for women -- many of whom live in Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury.

The advertisements are still being developed, but will be targeted along the Orange Line from Forest Hills to Downtown Crossing.

"We think it is vitally important to give back to the communities we serve," said MBTA Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan. "If one woman is helped from this, it is successful."

It is part of a larger project called Trauma Spa designed to get women resources and services to recover and connect them with Boston police homicide detectives to help crack cold cases.

Trauma Spa, a new pilot expected to open in early summer at 61 Columbia Road, the headquarters of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, is designed as a 12-week program that would collect data with the help of experts at Northeastern University by treating up to 300 women who suffer from PTSD due to a murder of a loved one.

The program, a partnership with Boston Medical Center, will provide accommodations for massage, aromatherapy, reiki and acupuncture.

"This is huge," said Boston police officer Lisa Garcia, who works with homicide victim's families to get services. "This is a stepping stone to help everyone."

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