Improve Your School’s Educational Program
The Campus SaVE Act requires all universities and colleges to provide comprehensive sexual assault and dating violence prevention education for all students, staff, and faculty. Find out what department or official is developing the prevention education program and advocate for student involvement in the process. Work in coalition with other campus groups, student government, Greek Life, and professors to push for an hour-long in-person training with Q&A and encourage your administration to use successful prevention programs at UMD College Park and UC Berkeley as a model. Apply pressure with local and campus media buzz.
Host an Advocacy Day
Encourage students to visit administrators and your Title IX coordinator and advocate for policy changes related to violence against women at your school or thank them for supporting existing policies. This helps create awareness, grow student involvement, and foster a working relationship between activists and administrators. University of Mary Washington’s advocacy day also helped them identify decision makers and potential partners on campus. Your advocacy day should also be accompanied with an educational session on effective advocacy techniques.
Tell Survivors’ Stories
The Clothesline Project is a visual display where survivor-made shirts with messages representing particular experiences with violence are displayed publicly. To host one, have a shirt-making party and arrange for survivors who don’t want to decorate in-person to drop them off to you. Display the shirts on campus with counselors nearby to answer questions or assist survivors who are triggered.
Host a Demonstration
Plan a protest or demonstration at your college. Common events include SlutWalks, Take Back The Night, and Denim Day commemorations.
SlutWalk, an international movement against victim blaming that originated in Toronto in 2011 after a police officer said women should “avoid dressing like sluts” to protect themselves from sexual assault. Women dressed in provocative clothing and marched to the police station to make the point that no one asks for sexual assault.
Take Back the Night is an event that raises awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence by inviting participants to rally around campus in great numbers – thus reclaiming the community as their own.
On Denim Day, people are encouraged to wear jeans to raise awareness. When a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the survivor had worn tight jeans, women in the Parliament came to work the next day in jeans to show solidarity. Since then, Denim Day has grown into an international movement protesting against inaccurate and destructive attitudes about assault.
Here are some ways to get started planning a rally:
- Map out an accessible route covering your campus.
- Let campus security know about the event.
- Generate buzz with a Facebook event and event hashtag. Flier and chalk around campus. Alert campus media. Spread the word as best you can!
- Host a sign-making party a few days before the march so protesters can get to know each other.
- Invite campus officials who work on issues of sexual violence and give them a chance to inform protesters about the services they provide. Have them stay until the end in case anyone is triggered at the protest.
Show Solidarity with Survivors
The Handprint Project – in which students take a pledge not to commit or condone violence and place their handprint on a board – unites campuses in the fight to end sexual assault.
Create Your Own Media Campaign
Campus groups across the country have launched successful online campaigns to raise awareness:
- The “It Happens Here Project” is a website where Amherst College survivors anonymously submit their stories. Similar online projects exist at Harvard and Occidental.
- Project Unbreakable is a photo campaign of survivors holding signs quoting their attackers.
Conduct a “Know Your Campus Survey” to investigate safety provisions, sexual assault policies, and police response to violence against women on your campus. Publicize your most impressive and startling findings through letters to the editor, editorial, or an investigative article. Create visibility by chalking, flyering, or postering to further publicize results. When you launch the project, include a press release for media outlets that may want to cover it. Make sure to include your contact information and fast facts about sexual assault.