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RALIANCE Wish List for the New Congress

As lawmakers get to work in the 116th Congress, they should seize this important historic and cultural moment by passing more laws that protect the public, especially women and those in marginalized communities, from sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse.

Here are five things the new Congress can do to end sexual violence in one generation:

Reauthorize Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Strong, bipartisan legislation reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act should include increased investments in prevention; enhanced protections for Native women; strengthened housing provisions; homicide reduction tools; and improved criminal justice approaches.

Increase funding for sexual assault services and prevention

Authorizing $50 million for the SexualAssault Services Program at the Office on Violence Against Women and $75 million for the Rape Prevention & Education Program at the CDC Injury Center will help bring to bear important and much-needed resources for organizations that serve women across the country who have experienced sexual violence.

Strengthen workplace harassment protections and accountability

Despite the longstandingprohibitions against harassment based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, and disability, many workers, especially working women and those in low-wage jobs, continue to be denied equal employment opportunities, safety, and dignity. New legislation should focus on strengthening an employee’s ability to hold their employers and harassers accountable.

Pass Survivors’ Access to Supportive Care Act (SASCA)

We must improve survivors’ access totrained, forensic examiners. This bipartisan and bicameral legislation would provide guidance and support to states and hospitals providing sexual assault examination services and treatment.

Pass Closing Law Enforcement Consent Loophole Act

There is currently no law preventingfederal law enforcement officers from using consent as a defense when accused of committing sexual misconduct on the job. Lawmakers should pass the Closing Law Enforcement Consent Loophole Act and encourage states to pass strong laws that hold these enforcement officers accountable.

Kissing the Kiss Cam Goodbye

Ringer illustration

Recently, The Ringer’s Britni de la Cretaz wrote an article about the use of the Kiss cam in today’s athletic events, and the unintended consequences that its use can have on our sports culture and fans who come into focus of its view.   

“Kiss cams have been a mainstay of the sports fan experience for more than three decades. If you’ve been to a game recently, you’ve surely seen the stunt—during a game break, two unsuspecting members of the crowd are broadcast on the Jumbotron and prompted, by graphics or the in-arena announcer, to smooch.  It’s usually good for a laugh or two, but in an evolving world, one in which we’re having complicated and nuanced discussions about sexism, agency, and consent, it’s worth asking what role—if any—the kiss cam has in our current sports culture. What can seem like a routine in-game gimmick can come with a deeper significance.”

De la Cretaz goes on though the article to ask teams, officials and fans why the kiss cam is still being used today. Read the article here.

Raliance believes that sport can be part of the solution to end sexual and domestic violence in one generation. To learn more about resources for the sport community, check out the Sport and Prevention Center:http://www.raliance.org/sport-prevention-center/.

RALIANCE Calls to End Shutdown, Restore Critical Services to Sexual Violence Survivors

RALIANCE policy director Terri Poore issued the following statement regarding the prolonged government shutdown, which has now lasted for nearly three weeks:

RALIANCE calls for an immediate end to the government shutdown, which is putting the needs of survivors of sexual assault at risk.

“Rape crisis centers rely on federal funding through the Department of Justice to keep their doors open and pay their advocates, thousands of whom would face the prospect of losing their jobs without this important funding. A prolonged shutdown imperils these programs and others that provide lifesaving services in their communities.

“In the wake of the #MeToo movement, demand for sexual assault services has skyrocketed, as a result of increased national attention on the issue of sexual assault. Even before the shutdown, over half of programs already had a waiting list for counseling services, and every day the government remains closed, increases the danger that survivors won’t be able to access the services they need.

“#MeToo has made abundantly clear that survivors of sexual violence deserve to be taken seriously, not used as a bargaining chip. Congress must act now to end the shutdown and the president must sign a budget. Survivors’ lives depend on it.”

What Bernie should have said about allegations of sexual harassment on his campaign

We’re in a watershed moment for sexual violence prevention, but there’s so much left to do. Every day, in politics, sports, corporate America, Hollywood, and around the world, we’re reminded of how our culture falls short of treating sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse with the seriousness they deserve.

In 2019 and beyond, RALIANCE will be highlighting all the ways in which we still fall short of supporting survivors — and how all of us can do better to help end sexual violence in one generation.

The New York Times recently detailed sexual harassment, demeaning treatment, and pay disparity allegations from staff members on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. In an interview earlier this week on CNN, Anderson Cooper asked Sen. Sanders how he would ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Sen. Sanders acknowledged human resources missteps and offered an apology to those who felt mistreated. He then went on to tout his 2018 Senate re-election campaign in Vermont, where mandatory training and an independent firm handled reports, as a “gold standard for what we should be doing.” Sanders closed by reaffirming that he didn’t know the extent of the issue during the 2016 election due to being too busy campaigning.

In the #MeToo era, plausible deniability is simply not enough. Sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse are widespread societal problems that require fearless leadership and action. We expect more of our political leaders, especially those seeking the highest office in the land.

Here are four things we wish Bernie had said.

“This inappropriate behavior does not reflect my values, or the values of my platform and campaign. As the leader of that campaign, the buck stops with me, and I am ultimately responsible for establishing a work environment that promotes the safety and well-being of all employees.”

“Sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse have no place in our workplaces, and it’s on all of us to look out for each other. That starts with training and awareness, but it doesn’t stop there. To end sexual violence, we all must work to build a culture based on mutual respect, safety and equality.”

“We have put in place transparent policies, procedures, and reporting mechanisms that include training and awareness – not just for how victims may report but on addressing the inappropriate behaviors that enabled this to happen in the first place.”

“The Violence Against Women Act is a vital piece of legislation to support survivors access to services as well as prevention resources. Reauthorizing this important legislation right away must be a top priority for the new Congress.”

RALIANCE wants to send you to Super Bowl LIII 

This is your chance to see the BIG GAME in person! Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the Super Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, February 3, 2019 at 6:30pm.

RALIANCE is inviting you to purchase a raffle ticket for a chance drawing for two upper-level tickets valued at nearly $3,000. The raffle is limited to 10,000 tickets with proceeds benefiting RALIANCE. The drawing will take place on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

Every day, RALIANCE makes prevention possible by advancing research, influencing policy, supporting innovative programs and helping leaders establish safe workplaces and strong communities.

Don’t miss out! Purchase your ticket today!

How airlines can help prevent in-flight sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse

Sexual misconduct on crowded airlines is happening more often (Los Angeles Times — Hugo Martin), and airlines – like all corporations – can do quite a bit towards preventing it.

Sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse impact all of us. With these acts  often occurring in public places, it’s not surprising that reports of misconduct on commercial flights are on the rise.

Here are some key ways that airlines can do more to prevent sexual violence during flights:

Adopt a standard set of protocols for addressing incidents of sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse;

Offer better sexual violence prevention training for staff;

Collect better data on reports of sexual assault incidents; and

Consistently remind passengers that these behaviors are not acceptable, and that airlines are prioritizing the safety of passengers and crews.

“That proximity of an airplane makes it extra uncomfortable. […] They could start doing some consistent messaging and campaigning to let them know it’s a priority.”

From college campuses to the military, we know that raising awareness about sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse is an important step to preventing these types of bad behaviors from happening and ensuring victims can safely report any experiences of sexual violence. Passengers deserve to feel safe and respected while traveling, and airlines must ensure that message is always communicated.

Stand Up, #DontStandBy

Uber, in collaboration with NO MORE,  has launched its Stand Up Don’t Stand By.  campaign to “spotlight the important role we all play in looking out for each other’s safety and preventing sexual assault. #DontStandBy” The campaign materials focus on actions that can be taken to contribute to stop sexual assault before it happens. There are messages for friends out on for a night on the town,  nightlife staff, and Uber drivers.

This campaign is initially focused on two nightlife hubs: Las Vegas Nevada, and Los Angeles California. Learn more about the bold moves Uber and NO MORE are making to get everyone involved in a movement to ensure respect, safety, and fun are all a part of going out.

Using innovation to help serve more in need: MOCSA

In the wake of Me Too, many sexual violence prevention organizations experienced an uptick in demand for support services and counseling. The Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), a RALIANCE impact grant recipient and national leader in providing therapy for youth with problematic sexual behavior, used innovation to help serve more in need. MOCSA recently spoke with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center about their foster care project in Kansas City and the ways they overcame challenges to make a positive impact in the community for NSVRC’s Fall 2018 issue of The Resource.

At RALIANCE, we want to be the kind of funders that sees potential in challenges. Projects that see ways they can change, adapt, and pivot are critical to advancing prevention work. MOCSA’s project addressed an underserved population – in this instance foster caregivers and service professionals to better understand sexual behavior problems in children. To help manage the uptick in foster kids and caregivers who were seeking help, MOCSA adapted their program in a way that could empower caregivers and counseling professionals with the training and tools needed to serve their community.

MOCSA started by hosting a series of focus groups and listening to foster parents who are successfully helping youth in their care with these behaviors. Their hard work and innovation led to impactful deliverables: MOCSA produced two six-page Resource Guides — one for caregivers and one for professionals — and distributed 250 hard copies throughout the Kansas City metro. They also produced a series of short video clips based on the real-life experiences of foster families to help people better understand problematic sexual behaviors among youth and how to build a network of support.

“Overall, the additional outreach, training, and collaborative efforts allowed MOCSA to reach vastly more people than we originally intended.”

That’s the kind of innovation that is having real impact in our communities. Read more about this project on NSVRC’s blog.

Fresh from Denver: RALIANCE Trains U.S. National Governing Bodies and U.S. Olympic Committee 


By Brian Pinero

Earlier this month in Denver, RALIANCE Chief Public Affairs Officer Kristen Houser and RALIANCE National Project Coordinator Brian Pinero trained members of the U.S. National Governing Bodies and the U.S. Olympic Committee on how to talk about sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse and contribute to a safe and respectful culture for all in the sport community 

The training took place over the course of two days at the offices of U.S. Center for SafeSport and focused on using common values in sport combined with the six messaging components from RALIANCE’s  most recent report, that could be used to help audiences understand how prevention is possible. Constructing messages in this way provides an effective way to introduce policies, training and culture change around sexual violence. Attendees also learned how to focus on prevention messages even when met with challenges. Using pre-developed scenarios and pivot phrases, the group practiced delivering and staying on message when met with a skepticism or critics.

Members of the governing bodies were also provided with a tool kit, developed by RALIANCE and U.S. Center for SafeSport. This tool kit contained examples on how to use values, pivot points, messaging components and designed awareness materials for use messaging prevention to coaches, athletes, staff and other members of the sport community.

To learn more about how RALIANCE is partnering with the sport community to end sexual violence in one generation, check out the Sport+Prevention Center!

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