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RALIANCE supports women’s right to control their bodies, condemns Alabama abortion ban

Earlier this week, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, which would essentially ban all abortions – including for victims of sexual assault and incest – and punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison. 

This law not only attacks women’s fundamental rights, but it also does nothing to ensure the health and safety of victims of sexual violence. Instead of protecting and supporting victims of sexual assault and incest, it turns its back on them. 

RALIANCE joins women and survivors across the country in speaking out against this attack on women and reasserting their legal rights to access reproductive health options without fear of punishment or retaliation. 

While Alabama is the first to outright ban abortion, we can’t forget that Missouri, Ohio, Georgia and a growing number of other states are also introducing and/or passing laws that further restrict women’s access to legal and safe reproductive care.   

Ebony Tucker, advocacy director at RALIANCE and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, reflected on how misogyny is at the core of this dangerous trend in a joint op-ed for Refinery29 last month with Shaina Goodman, director of policy for reproductive health and rights at the National Partnership for Women & Families. 

Tucker and Goodman said, “Deciding whether and when to have a child and whether or when to consent to sexual activity are both fundamentally about asserting autonomy over our own bodies. And both restrictions on abortion and the dismissal of sexual assault are about people in power — predominantly men — trying to strip away our dignity and roll back our march toward equality.”

It’s time to come together to speak out against the harmful laws that reinforce abortion restrictions and the pervasive culture that disregards women’s right to control their own bodies. Together we can end sexual violence in one generation. 

Sexual Violence and Game of Thrones

Many of us at RALIANCE, like millions of others around the world have been glued to the TV the last five weeks watching the final season of Game of Thrones. In episode four, an interaction between Sansa and the Hound and several other scenes caused us to reflect how sexual violence has been portrayed over the years in the show 

Two of our team members, Ebony Tucker and Brian Pinero, sat down and talked about it. Is it necessary in telling a story like Game of Thrones  to include sexual violence? What can we learn from how writers have written about it over eight seasons? Join us over the next three days and listen to their conversation. 

Stand Up, Don’t Stand By – with Uber and NO MORE

A safer world – free from sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse – begins when we look out for each other. RALIANCE supports the Stand up, Don’t Stand By” campaign spearheaded by two of our partners: Uber and NO MORE. Since this campaign launched last fall, they have been partnering with local law enforcement, nightlife community, and local rape crisis centers to promote public safety and help prevent sexual assault before it starts. 

What started out in two nightlife hubs – Las Vegas and Los Angeles – is now expanding to new cities including DC, Seattle, and Philadelphia. The message is clear – everyone has a role to play in ensuring respect, safety, and fun are all a part of going out.

“We can all do a better job of watching out for each other in social settings. And help can be just a few steps away—a bartender, a waiter, a bouncer. By sharing this message, we can raise awareness about the importance of bystander intervention and help create a safer world for everyone.”

NO MORE

At RALIANCE, we believe in engaging all voices in the fight to end sexual violence in one generation. RALIANCE and NO MORE partner on solutions to educate more communities about preventing all forms of violence. RALIANCE also joined forces with Uber in 2017 to drive innovation and make lasting, impactful changes to the safety needs across the entire commuter transportation industry.

Watch the Stand Up, Don’t Stand By video and encourage your friends and community to join the campaign in stamping out sexual violence once and for all.  

Sport, a Beautiful Platform for Prevention

A few months ago, Valencia Peterson (Coach V) of Open Door Abuse Awareness & Prevention, was a presenter on RALIANCE’s webinar discussing her prevention work with high school football. Coach V perfectly described how sport can help prevent sexual and domestic violence:

Recently, we came across a story highlighting the work Coach V and her organization are doing with high school football in the Philadelphia area.

New RALIANCE study: Accusations of sexual harassment are low but reports of experiencing abuse are high

We all deserve to feel safe in our communities, workplaces and homes. But change doesn’t happen on its own, though. That’s why RALIANCE teamed up again with partners at UC San Diego Center on Gender Equity and Health, Stop Street Harassment, NORC at the University of Chicago, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), and Promundo to update the ground-breaking national study on sexual harassment and assault in the United States, putting data behind #MeToo stories to tell a clearer story about the prevalence of this issue and ways to solve it.

In addition to including a few questions from 2018 about people’s experiences facing sexual harassment and assault, we added several new ones this year regarding perpetration and accusations of sexual harassment and assault. We chose to add these questions in light of notable recent news, including Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination hearing and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ efforts to change Title IX guidelines.

Among the key 2019 findings:

  • While verbal comments are the most frequently experienced form of sexual harassment, an alarming number of people also have faced more severe forms. Among all female respondents, 49% had been purposely sexually touched (or groped), 27% had been followed, and 30% had been flashed. On the most extreme end, 23% of women (1 in 4) had survived sexual assault, as had 9% of men (1 in 10).
  • Women with disabilities and women who identify as lesbian or bisexual were more likely to report experiencing both sexual harassment and assault than women without disabilities and straight women, respectively. Among men, those in certain marginalized groups were also more likely to report experiencing sexual harassment and, especially, sexual assault; this includes men with disabilities, men living below the poverty line, and gay and bisexual men.
  • Young people and marginalized groups have also experienced sexual harassment more recently. Of those who experienced sexual harassment or assault, 18% of women and 16% of men experienced it most recently within the past six months. At least one-third of young women aged 18-24 (32%), Black women (35%) and lesbian or bisexual women (39%) reported sexual harassment in the past six months, the highest prevalence across demographics.

The newly-released 2019 findings confirmed much of what we knew: Sexual harassment occurs across all parts of our life, particularly in public spaces. It affects everyone, with disproportionate impacts on marginalized groups. And they are acts of abuse of power, disrespect, and disregard for human dignity. What we find is that even in a self-reported survey, very few people have ever been accused of sexual harassment or assault, compared with those who have said they perpetrated it and especially compared with the many people who said they have experienced it. By and large, when people say they experienced sexual harassment or assault, they are telling the truth, but they still face significant barriers to coming forward with their stories.

NORC at the University of Chicago conducted the nationally representative survey of 1,182 women and 1,037 men across February – March 2019. UCSD’s GEH did the data analysis.

We are fighting for lasting cultural changes so that sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse don’t occur in the first place. Join us at www.raliance.org


Op Ed: The Weinstein Case Indicts Our Entire Culture

Read the full Op Ed by RALIANCE’s Kristen Houser on Ms. Magazine: The Weinstein Case Indicts Our Entire Culture on April 29.

Here’s an excerpt:

As Harvey Weinstein heads to a hearing this month, in advance of his criminal trial on charges of sexual assault in June, new facts are sure to emerge about the many allegations against him. The film producer’s actions, and the “he said, she said” dynamic that accompanies many of these cases, will likely dominate the public conversation.

But we must not overlook the fact that Weinstein’s story represents a case study—one that showcases why we must establish a wider culture that takes sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse seriously.

RALIANCE & THREAD: Consent & Power (PART 3)

RALIANCE invited two amazing members of THREAD, a private social network for women of the NFL to talk about Sexual Assault Awareness Month’s theme: I Ask and getting granular about consent.

Ambassador Dr. Chanita Foster is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, success coach and mentor, and social change philanthropist focusing on marginalized and disenfranchised communities. She is the founder of BEYOND THE GAME a 501 (c)(3) working to advance the lives of young people, especially girls, in South Africa and Swaziland.

Kathleen Gallagher, aka The SafetyChick is a Personal Safety Expert, Author and TV Personality whose mission is to change the way safety is embraced nationally. It’s not about living  paranoid, it’s about living smart and making SMART personal safety choices.

Julie Patrick, External Relations for RALIANCE, joined the women for this series.

See also: Part 1: Getting granular about consent

See also: Part 2: Consent & engaging boys and men

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