The Conference on Crimes Against Women is proud to present the 2022 IGNITE Award to Tracy Matheson: mother, legislative champion, and founder of Project Beloved. After her daughter, Molly Jane, was raped and murdered in 2017, Tracy made it her life’s work to create change for victims of sexual assault. The IGNITE Award was created in 2019 to honor courageous efforts that are sparking awareness and action across the country, bringing injustice out of the darkness and lighting the fire of change not only in the recipients’ local communities, but across the nation. The award will be presented at the opening plenary of the 2022 Conference on Crimes Against Women on Monday, May 23 at 8:00 a.m.
“Tracy embodies the IGNITE Award, finding a new purpose after the great tragedy of losing her beloved daughter Molly Jane,” said Jan Langbein, Chief Executive Officer of CCAW and Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support.“Her organization has worked to pass critical legislation to help aid law enforcement and ensuring survivors of sexual assault are cared for with dignity in a setting where they can feel safe. We are thrilled to honor her contributions.”
Tracy founded Project Beloved in 2018 with the mission of educating, advocating, and collaborating to change the conversation about sexual assault and empower survivors to find their voices. In less than four years, Project Beloved has provided more than 10,000 Beloved Bundles to hospitals and rape crisis centers, so that rape victims may leave with dignity after a forensic exam. The organization has also installed 45 Soft Interview Rooms across the country, giving victims of crime a space that feels physically and emotionally safe during the interview process. Finally, Project Beloved has established the Molly Jane Matheson Memorial Scholarship in Social Work at the University of Arkansas, honoring Molly’s plan to become a social worker herself.
As a result of Tracy's tireless advocacy, Molly Jane’s Law was signed into law in the state of Texas on September 1, 2019. Molly Jane’s Law requires law enforcement to input information about sexual offenders into ViCAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program), which helps identify patterns before they rape again or their pattern escalates, each time a case of sexual assault is investigated. This law helps identify patterns of offense so that law enforcement can act decisively before an offender rapes again - a crucial step that will save countless lives.
For additional information about the Conference or to register, please visit www.conferencecaw.org.
About the Conference on Crimes Against Women:
The goal of the Conference on Crimes Against Women is absolutely to create an overall reduction in the rate of crimes against women and, ultimately, eliminate violence against women. It is also, however, a primary part of our mission to improve the way crimes against women are investigated and prosecuted, as well as to improve the way victims are treated throughout the criminal justice system. The problem of domestic violence is so pervasive and at such epidemic proportions, that tangible decreases in the rate of violence against women will not be seen until huge volumes of women are safer in their homes. This volume happens through culture shifts, and conferences like CCAW create the momentum and the network for that very culture shift. For additional information about the Conference, please visit www.conferencecaw.org.
About Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support:
Since opening its doors in 1985, Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support has provided safety, shelter and expert counseling services to women and children who have experienced domestic violence. Genesis is committed to removing every roadblock a woman might face on her journey to the abuse-free life she deserves. These life-changing services include an emergency shelter, long-term housing, an award-winning onsite, K-12 school, daycare, access to legal representation and cutting-edge therapeutics. Genesis serves more than 3,700 women and children each year, and relies on the generous support of the Dallas community to continue providing these services at no cost to clients. For more information, visit www.genesisshelter.org.