Northwest Horizons

Project BeLovEd: Changing the conversation of rape

Molly+Jane+Matheson+smiles++and+looks+off+into+the+distance.+She+was+raped+and+murdered+on+April+10%2C+2017%2C+her+mother+and+family+created+Project+BeLovEd+to+carry+on+her+legacy.
Molly Jane Matheson smiles  and looks off into the distance. She was raped and murdered on April 10, 2017, her mother and family created Project BeLovEd to carry on her legacy.

Molly Jane Matheson smiles and looks off into the distance. She was raped and murdered on April 10, 2017, her mother and family created Project BeLovEd to carry on her legacy.

Molly Jane Matheson smiles and looks off into the distance. She was raped and murdered on April 10, 2017, her mother and family created Project BeLovEd to carry on her legacy.

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Molly Jane Matheson, a young woman from Texas, was raped and murdered at the age of 22 in April 2017. Her parents, Tracy and David Matheson, decided that there needed to be change in this world. Now, a non-profit organization, Project BeLovEd, is changing the conversation around rape.

Project BeLovEd: The Molly Jane Mission, began soon after the death, Mrs. Matheson wasn’t sure what to do at first, but knew she had to do something. She began with a name, a slogan for the project. When Matheson found Molly’s body, she had a tattoo of the word ‘beloved,’ because Molly believed she was ‘beloved’ in God’s eyes.

“Early on, when I didn’t know what to do, all I knew was that I had to do something, and I put it into words and that has changed the world as it pertains to sexual violence and the way that we respond to it,” Matheson said.

At Northwest, relatives of the Mathesons–sophomore Claire Halterman and junior Clint Halterman–are getting involved.

“It was made to change the conversation of rape and to give rape victims a voice,” Claire Halterman said.

The project is helping victims with BeLovEd Bundles and soft interview rooms.

Sophomore Claire Halterman poses with Molly at a family photo shoot. Claire and her family hope to change the world with Project BeLovEd.

When the victim first comes to the hospital for the forensic exam, where SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) use all of the victim’s clothes and belongings as evidence, they don’t have anything with or on them except a hospital scrub. The BeLovEd Bundles change this by giving them undergarments, toiletries and clothes or pajamas.

“I hope [the BeLovEd Bundles] will restore some dignity after having endured the nightmare of rape and the long and invasive forensic exam,” Matheson said.

These will be given to the victims through the Women’s Center at Fort Worth, who have partnered with Project BeLovEd, when the forensic exams take place. The Women’s Center deals with all kinds of issues related to women, abuse, domestic abuse, sexual abuse and it also deals with issues related to children.

Survivors of sexual assault are mainly interviewed in the same rooms that criminals are spoke to in. The soft interview rooms, where the victim can be in a calmer state of mind, are not a new idea. The idea of  “Trauma Informed Care” is being taught to investigators by experts for victims of crimes.

“When you’re investigating a trauma like a rape, you need to make that investigation go as smoothly as possible and get the best information and the best evidence,” Matheson said. “By having an interview take place in a soft interview room, that’s taking into account that they have endured trauma.”

After enduring trauma, victims are not able to recall details about the event, or the information may come out in pieces that don’t flow cohesively together. Soft interview rooms help put together these details to give to the district attorney so that one can prosecute the assaulter.

On April 10, 2018, the official website of the Project BeLovEd was uploaded and the non profit organization was shared with the world. After selling T-shirts, stickers, makeup bags and other merchandise, they raised about $8,000. The donations to the website amounted to about $15,000.

“On the first day, we immediately had over 20 orders, and now we’ve had a total of almost 60 or 70,” Halterman said.

The Matheson family is out to make a difference and change how we see sexual assault crimes.

The merchandise and more information about the project can be found at projectbeloved.org

“I don’t think that we’re going to end sexual violence, but we can make it really difficult for anyone who does commit violence and make them wish that they hadn’t done,” Matheson said.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Project BeLovEd: Changing the conversation of rape”

  1. Jennifer on April 24th, 2018 8:47 pm

    Very proud Meg. Great article.

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Project BeLovEd: Changing the conversation of rape