We’ve heard the statistics too frequently: we know that one in four women will survive sexual or attempted sexual violence in her lifetime, and that one in five will be affected by sexual violence in her college career. We’ve seen, in recent weeks, months, and years, a series of incidents which exemplify the rape culture on our campuses and our communities nationwide: from the victim-blaming of Jane Doe in Steubenville to the Title IX class-action cases taking college faculties and staff to task for ignoring issues of sexual assault and rape in their ranks and student bodies, the conversation around ending violence is taking the forefront in our public discourse rather than remaining ignored and overlooked. Although sexual violence is not a new phenomenon, students need to have the education and tools to create safer campuses. We know that activism works in affecting policy changes and shifting cultures on campus to create safe spaces and respectful student communities, and the time to act is now.
Our new Campaign to End Campus Sexual Violence addresses all of these issues and more, and we couldn’t be more proud to be launching it today. The brand-new campaign toolkit brings you up to speed on regulations in place for universities like those in the Campus saVe Act, the Clery Act, and Title IX, as well as providing you with the language and statistics necessary to explain this issue to folks in your community. Inside are recommendations for possible actions you can take on your campus to bring awareness to issues of sexual violence as well as strategies and tips for cultivating policy changes and educational programs that can reduce and prevent violence before it happens and provide survivors with safer spaces.
You can check out our campaign resources online or print out a PDF of our action kit for your fellow feminists to help spread the word and spark change on your campus. All week, we’ll be ringing in our new campaign by posting stories from the team and current campus activists who have experienced victories in planning marches, executing media campaigns, and implementing policy changes on their campus that will also serve as great resources for you as we get started. If you’d like to work with us on your campus, you can sign up an existing group or start a new group today; you can also search our database to get in touch with the folks on your campus already doing this work. As always, feel free to send questions or suggestions to the team by emailing campusteam [at] feminist.org.
Emma Schlesinger, student at the University of Montevallo, was inspired to start an FMLA on her campus in order to address sexual violence. She’s using our resources to advocate for rape kits on campus and policies which make the police force more ready to handle cases of sexual assault and rape when they occur. “My generation is the future of this great nation,” she said, “and we can make a difference.” She called sexual violence “a major violation of our rights,” and she couldn’t be more correct.
We need to take action. Sexual violence needs to stop. And we’re looking forward to helping activists like you bring the movement for a rape-free world to your campus.