Blog

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

RALIANCE & THREAD: Consent & Engaging Boys and Men (PART 2)

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 3: Consent & power

RALIANCE & THREAD: I Ask and getting granular about consent (PART 1)

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 2 Consent & Engaging Boys and Men

See Also: Part 3 Consent & Power

FiveThirtyEight: After MeToo, More Americans See Sexual Harassment as a Problem, But Partisan Divisions Remain

Are Americans More Divided On #MeToo Issues? Writing at FiveThirtyEight, Meredith Conroy analyzes how opinions on sexual harassment and assault have changed since the beginning of the #MeToo movement. Using recent survey data about the attitudes and beliefs of the U.S. electorate gathered by The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, Conroy reports:

“On the whole, since 2016, Republicans have grown more skeptical of women who report harassment and the motivation behind their claims. However, members of both parties were more likely to acknowledge that sexual harassment of women in the workplace is a problem in the U.S. in 2018, compared with 2016 — so there is some evidence that more people from both parties view sexual harassment as a problem today than did before.”

As part of our research conducted by Goodwin Simon with the Berkeley Media Studies Group for Where we’re going and where we’ve been: Making the case for preventing sexual violence, RALIANCE learned that when it comes to sexual violence prevention, the messengers are as important as the message and often need to come first.

Here are a few ideas on how we flip the script and see more social change: 

  • Get granular about the journey

Our findings in the messaging guide suggest that conservative audiences “feel even more discomfort, skepticism, and inner conflict about whether prevention is possible. For these people to connect with our message, we may need to tell stories that include more details about the journey and describe more steps in the change process.”

  • Name the harm

Our research suggested that terms got in our way. Phrases like “sexual misconduct” made people think of unwanted overtures, innuendos, and suggestive conversations instead of more egregious actions on a spectrum of behaviors. If men are skeptical of women who report harassment and the motivation behind their claims, it’s time to use plain language, backed up by concrete examples. That is much more effective in helping audiences understand complex ideas.

  • Change is happening — but it takes time

This comparison was of survey data spread across only two years. As shown by the outpouring of support and criticism during and after the Kavanaugh hearings, we have a long way to go in this conversation. Much more needs to be done to engage men and boys as part of the solution. That includes moving from understanding that there is a problem to holding those accountable for their behaviors.

Learn more about what RALIANCE is doing to support survivor-centered policies and legislative initiatives!

NCAA Athletes Join April Campaign as Part of the Solution to Ending Sexual Violence

This week, the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) and its student-athletes will spotlight a two-day, athlete-led social media campaign around sexual violence prevention. This campaign will include institutions, coaches and athletes across all three NCAA divisions, focusing on promoting awareness and efforts to prevent sexual violence.

RALIANCE spoke to three people at the NCAA about their current work around the prevention of sexual violence and the upcoming athlete-led campaign.

First, to learn about what the NCAA is doing to prevent sexual violence we talked with Jessica Wagner, who works as the Associate Director of Prevention and Health Promotion for the Sports Science Institute.

RALIANCE: Tell us about the history of the NCAA’s efforts in sexual violence prevention.

WAGNER: The Association has been actively engaged in addressing sexual violence prevention through proactive membership and societal engagement measures since 2010.  Most recently in August 2017, the NCAA Board of Governors adopted the Policy to Combat Campus Sexual Violence.  This policy requires that each university president or chancellor, director of athletics and campus Title IX coordinator attest annually that:

  • The athletics department is informed on, integrated in, and compliant with institutional policies and processes regarding sexual violence prevention and proper adjudication and resolution of acts of sexual violence.
  • The institutional policies and processes regarding sexual violence prevention and adjudication, and the name and contact information for the campus Title IX coordinator, are readily available within the department of athletics, and are provided to student-athletes.
  • All student-athletes, coaches and staff have been educated each year on sexual violence prevention, intervention and response, to the extent allowable by state law and collective bargaining agreements. 

Furthermore if a school is not able to attest their compliance with the above requirements, it will be prohibited from hosting any NCAA championship competitions for the next applicable academic year. 

Fore more information about the policy see: http://www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/topics/ncaa-board-governors-policy-campus-sexual-violence

What are some of the resources and tools that are available to support athletes and those working in athletics around the issue of sexual violence?

The NCAA Sport Science Institute, in partnership with the NCAA Office of Inclusion,  engaged leading higher education organizations across the country to develop the publication of the Sexual Violence Prevention: An Athletics Tool Kit for a Healthy and Safe Culture.  The tool kit provides resource independent tools for athletic administrators to continue their efforts to create communities free of violence and safe place for students to thrive.   

In addition, the NCAA sponsors the Step UP! Bystander Intervention training program that is a biannual, three-day facilitator training for athletics administrators and campus partners that educates student to be proactive in helping others.  The program aims to raise awareness for helping behaviors and increase motivation to help, develop skills and confidence when responding to problems or concerns, and ensure the safety and well-being of self and others.

Find these resources at http://www.ncaa.org/sport-science-institute/sexual-assault-and-interpersonal-violence-educational-resources

Yannick Kluch works in the Office of Inclusion at the NCAA and has worked to support the development of the two-day, athlete-led campaign this month.

RALIANCE: Yannick, tell us about the upcoming two day campaign, who it’s targeted at and how was it created?

KLUCH: The campaign was created by members of the Board of Governors Student-Athlete Engagement Committee, which was established by the NCAA Board of Governors to provide student-athlete input to the board. The Board of Governors Student-Athlete Engagement Committee includes student-athletes from all three divisions, and we noticed very quickly that there are certain issues that student-athletes across all divisions are passionate about. Sexual violence prevention is one such topic, which is why the committee decided to lead the way in creating a social media campaign dedicated to this important cause. The campaign is targeted at student-athletes as well as administrators and coaches across our over 1,100 member institutions and conference offices. The goal of this two-day campaign is to create awareness for sexual violence prevention (Day 1) as well as showcase the great things our member institutions, conference offices and the NCAA itself are already doing when it comes to this topic (Day 2).

How did you work with the Board of Governors Student-Athlete Engagement Committee in creating this and getting the committee excited about it? 

The most rewarding part about working with the student-athletes on the Board of Governors Student-Athlete Engagement Committee is that they are the ones most passionate about engaging their fellow student-athletes on issues important to the student-athlete experience! So it really was the student-athletes leading the way in creating this campaign. Our NCAA staff was working alongside these student-athlete leaders and assisted them as much as possible to create a concept for the campaign, communicate with the membership and promote the campaign. For example, we worked with the committee in putting together a toolkit that was shared with our membership to help them prepare with the campaign.

What are some examples of things you hope to see during the campaign?

I was the NCAA office of inclusion lead working with our Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee as well as our national Student-Athlete Advisory Committees in running the first-ever MOIC and SAAC Diversity and Inclusion Social Media Campaign this past October. We were extremely proud to see our student-athletes, administrators and coaches across all three division participate in the campaign and engage on issues related to diversity and inclusion. The campaign hashtag #NCAAInclusion was trending at number 8 in the country at one point, and the campaign reached over 24 million people on Twitter alone. The creativity of our membership when it came to participating in the campaign was incredible! I am hoping to see a similar engagement with this campaign focused on sexual violence prevention and awareness. I have no doubt that the student-athletes, coaches and administrators at our over 1,100 member institutions and conference offices will find creative ways to showcase their efforts on and dedication to this extremely important topic!

How can we follow the campaign?

You can follow the campaign by tracking our campaign hashtag #StudentAthletesInAction. The campaign hashtag reflects the crucial role our student-athletes play in driving positive change on their campuses, at the conference level and in society at large. I also recommend following the social media accounts of each of our national Student-Athlete Advisory Committees. For example, you can find the Twitter accounts for Division I SAAC here, for Division II SAAC here and for Division III SAAC here.

Finally, Taylor Ricci former Oregon State Gymnast  a member of the NCAA Board of Governors Student Athlete Engagement Committee talks about her work with the committee, her work with previous athlete lead campaigns and her expectations for the upcoming athlete lead social media campaign. 


RALIANCE: Tell us about your leadership role as the chair of the Board of Governors Student Athlete Engagement Committee. 

RICCI: I was elected as Chair for the Board of Governors Student Athlete Engagement Committee in 2018. After serving on the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as the PAC-12 Representative, I was excited to continue my work with the NCAA on this committee. It has been exciting to see how much our group has accomplished in its first few years, which is a reflection on the incredible current and former student-athletes I get to work with. 

What role did the Board of Governors play in encouraging this campaign? 

The Board of Governors is an incredibly influential group in the NCAA so when they tasked the student-athlete engagement committee to recognize good works happening in college athletics we brainstormed what is now coming to life with this campaign. Our committee recognized the success that the MOIC had with their recent diversity and inclusion social media campaign so decided that our best opportunity would be to establish a social media campaign of our own. I have had the pleasure to see first hand how much effort members of our committee have played in developing this campaign and furthermore how the Board of Governors and NCAA staff have guided us in this endeavor. I think that what we have created is a platform that will continue to live, breathe, and impact for a very long time.

One of the accomplishments you have been apart of was co-founding #DamWorthit a mental health awareness campaign. You know first hand the impact athletes can have on your peers both in and out of athletics. Talk about the role athletes can have on campus around preventing sexual violence with this campaign?

The Dam Worth It Campaign has been such an amazing journey! If there is one thing Dam Worth It has showed me is that student-athletes, and the platform of sport, have an amazing opportunity to impact the world around them. One of the key aspects of Dam Worth It is that it is a peer to peer model, which has been the major reason why it has been so successful on ending the stigma surrounding mental health. This is no different than student-athletes using their voices to talk about topics that not only impact college athletes, but our entire society. Student-athletes will talk about preventing sexual violence with this social media campaign and because it is coming from their voices it will be relatable and therefore have the greatest impact.

As a former student athlete, what are some of the things you are excited to see happen or highlighted during the campaign? 

As I mentioned above, this campaign is made up of both current and former student-athletes. As a former student-athlete myself I see the amazing talent this group has. I know that the younger members of this committee are going to take great leadership moving forward and I am excited to see how this campaign will continue to grow and develop. Anything new requires time, effort and revisions, and I’m confident that the Board of Governors Student Athlete Engagement Committee will take current social topics that are important to them and use this campaign to raise awareness and influence positive change. 

RALIANCE is proud to support the work of the NCAA and its athletes to be part of the solution to ending sexual violence. We encourage you to follow the hashtag #StudentAthletesInAction on April 17th and18th and learn more about the work and efforts of student and collegiate athletics to prevent sexual violence. To learn more about our work and resources, check out the Sport and Prevention Center: http://www.raliance.org/sport-prevention-center/.

From The Safe Sport Law To Your Organizational Policies: Preventing Sexual Abuse In Adaptive Sports


Most organizational leaders are concerned about preventing sexual abuse in their programs, yet at times it can be hard to know where to begin. This web conference will provide a practical overview of how to develop and implement an organizational prevention plan, which includes policies, staff training, and creating a strong organizational culture. An adaptive sports organization leader will share his experience of developing and implementing a sexual abuse prevention policy and an experienced facilitator of organizational strategic planning around abuse prevention will present tools and strategies your organization can use. The web conference will also provide an overview of the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, effective February 14, 2018, and the steps leaders can take to ensure that their programs are meeting the requirements. Links to examples of organizational prevention policies are provided below, as well as sample planning documents to help leaders assess your programs’ greatest needs and strengths. This web conference is useful to anyone who is interested, but will focus specifically on organizations that support athletes with disabilities. This web conference took place April 10, 2019.

GUESTS:

Meg Stone, Director, IMPACT & IMPACT:Ability Triangle 

Katie Hanna, Director of Education, U.S. Center for SafeSport

Joe Walsh, President & Director, Adaptive Sports New England

OBJECTIVES:

Apply learning to create policies, culture, and training to prevent sexual violence in organizations

Cite examples of tools and policies to help organizations implement prevention programming

Assess organizations’ compliance of federal legislation for protections against sexual violence, abuse, and harassment

MATERIALS:

Web conference PowerPoint slides [PDF]

Management and Leadership for Abuse Prevention Principles [PDF]

Prevention Plan Worksheet [PDF]

SEEM Collaborative Touch Guidelines [PDF]

Adaptive Sport New England Safe Sport Policy [PDF]

Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies & SafeSport Code [link]

RALIANCE Sexual Assault Awareness Month Briefing

This week RALIANCE held a briefing at the Senate Russell Office Building in Washington, DC to discuss the work of local sexual violence organizations.

Across the country, 1500 local agencies provide the frontline response to the widespread and devastating problem of sexual assault in our communities. From survivor support to prevention with youth to systems advocacy, these programs are providing the leadership we need to address and end sexual violence.

Watch the briefing as leaders of state programs discuss their essential work as well as policy solutions.

Watch here >>>

Join Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now