10 Student Sexual Assault Activists to Know!: #1 John Kelly, Tufts University

Throughout the course of the last year, we at SAFER have proudly watched numerous student sexual assault prevention activists speak out against the prevalence of sexual assault on their campuses and call for changes to college and universities policies regarding sexual violence.

In honor of Sexual Assault ACTIVISM Month, SAFER will highlight 10 student sexual assault prevention activists around the nation who are creating change on their campus!

#1 John Kelly, Tufts University

John Kelly, SA Prevention Activist, on the right at an ED ACT NOW Protest. 

John Kelly is junior at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, who, after experiencing first-hand the inadequacies of his institution’s sexual assault policy and disciplinary process became an activist with ED ACT NOW and Know Your IX and has advocated for Tufts to change their sexual assault policies and disciplinary procedures. As a male, queer survivor of sexual assault, John has worked to ensure sexual violence against men and members of the LGBTQ community are included in conversations and activism around campus sexual assault.

 

SAFER provides student activists with a variety of resources, including the Activist Resource Center, which is our online library of sexual assault-related information and resources; on-campus Teach-Ins for student activists, which are led by skilled facilitators and equip students with the skills and information needed to bring about policy reforms and change; and, our Activist Mentoring Program (AMP!), which is our free mentoring service that provides students with continued support after they have completed an on-campus Teach-In.

10 Things All Sexual Violence Prevention Activists Should Know: #10 Meeting People Where They Are

10 Things All Sexual Violence Prevention Activists Should Know

By Jessica Torres

April is Sexual Assault ACTIVISM Month and in honor of all the hard work that has been done and will be done by college sexual assault prevention activists, SAFER has put together a “Top 10 Things All Sexual Violence Prevention Activists Should Know.” We will be posting one of the ten ideas/suggestions/concepts each day for the first ten days of #SAAM. Please check our blog and our social media for each day’s idea!

Systems and traditions that allow and reinforce rape culture don’t exist in a vacuum; rape culture is informed by everyday microaggressions, historic disenfranchisement of specific groups (like women, LGBT folks, and people of color), and quite frankly, it’s a symptom of larger problems we often don’t have the language to discuss. Here are 10 things that all sexual violence prevention activists should know and consider as they further their efforts to build stronger and long-lasting policies that both reflect and challenge the needs and understanding of sexual assault for students on college campuses.

#10 Meeting People Where They Are

 

-avoid living in the Ivory Tower. Buzzwords aren’t everything, contextualize your work in a way that benefits everyone participating in the conversation.

-folks are allowed to enter the movement regardless of how literate they are in the issues. Provide educational opportunities for folks who want to learn, invite them in and challenge people to think critically about where they stand.

10 Things All Sexual Violence Prevention Activists Should Know: #9 Realizing there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution

10 Things All Sexual Violence Prevention Activists Should Know

By Jessica Torres

April is Sexual Assault ACTIVISM Month and in honor of all the hard work that has been done and will be done by college sexual assault prevention activists, SAFER has put together a “Top 10 Things All Sexual Violence Prevention Activists Should Know.” We will be posting one of the ten ideas/suggestions/concepts each day for the first ten days of #SAAM. Please check our blog and our social media for each day’s idea!

Systems and traditions that allow and reinforce rape culture don’t exist in a vacuum; rape culture is informed by everyday microaggressions, historic disenfranchisement of specific groups (like women, LGBT folks, and people of color), and quite frankly, it’s a symptom of larger problems we often don’t have the language to discuss. Here are 10 things that all sexual violence prevention activists should know and consider as they further their efforts to build stronger and long-lasting policies that both reflect and challenge the needs and understanding of sexual assault for students on college campuses.

9. Realizing there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution

-every institution has its own unique cultural issues that need to be addressed. So while it’s useful to compare notes, remember to tailor your demands to what your specific community needs.

-be sure to push for a policy that grows with the needs of the community. If there isn’t a process to amend policy, push for that! And be sure to clearly highlight who to go to when it’s time to do so.

10 Things All Sexual Violence Prevention Activists Should Know: #7 Building a sustainable movement that lasts beyond when vocal leaders graduate

10 Things All Sexual Violence Prevention Activists Should Know

By Jessica Torres

April is Sexual Assault ACTIVISM Month and in honor of all the hard work that has been done and will be done by college sexual assault prevention activists, SAFER has put together a “Top 10 Things All Sexual Violence Prevention Activists Should Know.” We will be posting one of the ten ideas/suggestions/concepts each day for the first ten days of #SAAM. Please check our blog and our social media for each day’s idea!

Systems and traditions that allow and reinforce rape culture don’t exist in a vacuum; rape culture is informed by everyday microaggressions, historic disenfranchisement of specific groups (like women, LGBT folks, and people of color), and quite frankly, it’s a symptom of larger problems we often don’t have the language to discuss. Here are 10 things that all sexual violence prevention activists should know and consider as they further their efforts to build stronger and long-lasting policies that both reflect and challenge the needs and understanding of sexual assault for students on college campuses.

7. Building a sustainable movement that lasts beyond when vocal leaders graduate

-make sure you reach out to newly matriculated students. Explain very clearly why they should care; sexual assault will impact all of us in immeasurable ways, oftentimes, without ever going away.

-build institutional memory, share your wealth of knowledge with anyone who may be interested in exchanging ideas in an easy, user-friendly, accessible space. That may be as simple as a curated Facebook page, a Tumblr, a blog, or even submitting articles to your school’s paper.

-document everything in some form of a database, this includes victories, big and small, as well as communications with key figures.

-diversify your leadership. Don’t just include the usual suspects as it will make the movement feel niche or unrelatable.

-learn your history! By placing your work in the context of your school’s activist history, you can take notes on what has or hasn’t worked before. And those who will come after you can do the same.

 

Twitter Movement Highlights Underreporting #ididnotreport

Trigger warning for disclosures of sexual assault 

Many of SAFER’s social media-savvy readers have probably already heard about this, but, if you haven’t, it’s worth checking out. Just a few days ago, feminist activists from across the pond coined #ididnotreport, and survivors began bravely disclosing their unreported experiences of sexual assault via Twitter. Here are a few powerful examples:

Absolutely nothing but blame was placed on me after my first 2 assaults. #ididnotreport the most recent. Couldn’t go through that again. -Colleen

#ididnotreport any of them because I’d been taught that it was only rape if violence or threats were used. -Merinnan

An anonymous friend: “#ididnotreport because I’m male, and no one would have believed me.” -imbecillis

So far, survivors and people close to survivors have sent 3,493 tweets using #ididnotreport. Did you or someone you know choose not to report after a sexual assault for fear of poor treatment by school administrators or disbelieving friends, law enforcement officials, etc.? Head over to Twitter and get involved in this amazing social-media movement to shed light on the troubling phenomenon of underreporting.

GET INVOLVED: March 18-24 is International Anti-Street Harassment Week

Cross-posted from SAFER’s Tumblr

Sexual and sexist comments, public masturbation, groping, stalking, and assault – gender-based street harassment makes public places unfriendly and even scary for many girls, women, and LGBQT folks. Join thousands of people worldwide to speak out against this human rights issue during International Anti-Street Harassment Week, March 18-24, 2012.

There are many ways to participate, including by simply agreeing to talk about the issue, sharing stories or tweeting (#NoSHWeek) during the week, and changing your Facebook photo that week. If you want to organize action in your community, submit it to the map so others in your area can find out about it. No action is too small to help collectively say that the streets should be safe for everyone!

Below is a list of ways that you can use social media to get involved in International Anti-Street Harassment Week!

If you’re in NYC, check out the Facebook event to get involved during #NoSHWeek!

Learn more at Meet Us On The Street.

UConn Students Urge Administration to Fight Rape Culture

Over at Change.org, students from the University of Connecticut are trying to collect 5,000 signatures in response to the airing of a rape-supportive program on UCTV, the university’s television station. Although UCTV removed the episode, the school’s administration has yet to respond to the incident. Organizers want their school’s administrators to speak out against rape culture by issuing a statement condemning the TV program’s blatant trivialization of rape.

Kudos to the amazing student activists heading up this campaign! Show your support by heading over to Change.org and signing their petition! 

Pastor Who Humilated Raped Girl Removed from University Board

Thanks to an outpouring of outrage led by former students, The Rev. Charles Phelps has stepped down as a member of the Board of Bob Jones University. Phelps was the pastor of a church in New Hampshire when a church member in his late 30s confessed to raping a 15 year old girl, also a member of the church, who was impregnated by the rapist. Phelps forced the girl, Tina Anderson (who has asked that her name and story be shared to help others) to apologize for HER behavior in front of the whole church, and then sent her out of state, away from family and friends, to have the child and give it up for adoption. Now an adult, Anderson has bravely pushed for accountability for the crimes committed against her, and this year, her rapist was finally convicted – but until now Phelps remained on the board of Bob Jones, a major Baptist university.

“Growing up in the church, you respect the people that teach you, and to see them so grossly mishandle a 15-year-old is just angering,” said Christine Corneau, of Bristol.

Corneau is a former member of the church and a former student at BJU in South Carolina, where until Thursday, Phelps had served as a member of the school’s Board of Trustees.

Corneau and many others had taken to social networking sites, calling on BJU to remove Phelps.

Check out I Support Tina Anderson for more on the story and to see one of the petitions that helped push Phelps out. This is a great reminder that alumni can be an important source of change for their colleges and universities – your former school relies on your support, so make your voice heard!

Dear Facebook, Rape Jokes Are Absolutely Not Okay

According to Facebook, we all need to lighten up about rape jokes, because, you know, some people think rape is really funny and the rest of us need to STFU and grow a sense of humor already.

Wait, wait. Are you ready for this? I hope you’ve got a tissue handy because this one might have you laughing tears.

YOU KNOW SHES [sic] PLAYING HARD TO GET WHEN YOUR [sic] CHASING HER DOWN AN ALLEYWAY

Yup.

This variety of Facebook page is one with which we’re all familiar. So it’s perhaps less surprising than it is tragic that 176,623 people “like” this page, including a number of ladies who desperately need to pick up a copy of Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs.

Naturally, some folks are wondering whether Facebook supports rape culture. Since rape culture permeates pretty much every layer of our society, I think the answer to this question is easy. The Facebook feminist community continues to call for the page’s removal, but, despite despicable, unquestionably rape-supportive wall posts such as…

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I’ve got a knife
Get in the van

and…

I had sex with my girl last night she was screaming another name out -_- anyone know who rape is? [Note: This comment was reported and subsequently removed.]

…Facebook claims that this page is little more than “local pub” humor. Here’s a hearty helping of corporate mansplaining for you:

We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views whilst respecting the rights and feeling of others.

We have now more than 750 million people around the world of varying opinions and ideals using Facebook as a place to discuss and share things that are important to them.

We sometimes find people discussing and posting about controversial topics

It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive another can find entertaining—just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook.

Fortunately, people like Orlagh, the student activist who brought this horrific Facebook page to SAFER’s attention, are tirelessly demanding that Facebook treats rape-supportive pages and wall posts with the gravity they deserve. Orlagh has started online petitions at GoPetition.com and Change.org. Please sign and spread the word!