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Let’s not forget female athletes in the fight to end sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse

Happy National Girls & Women in Sports Day! As we celebrate the extraordinary achievements of women and girls in athletics today, we must also remember the important role that sports leaders and organizations play in supporting female athletes and promoting cultures that practice respect, safety, equality on and off the field.

We know all too well that sexual violence and domestic violence prevention efforts are often focused on male athletes and that more can be done to implement programming, training and resources that are focused on female athletes and their unique needs and experiences. As part of our work to engage the sports community as a partner in prevention, the RALIANCE report, How Sport Can End Sexual Violence in One Generation Overview Report,” addresses these challenges and offers resources for how to prevent sexual and domestic violence in sports communities.

One example of an organization that is working to empower women and girls in sports is Seattle-based organization Athletes as Leaders. With help from funding from a RALIANCE grant, Athletes as Leaders developed, implemented, and evaluated a girls’ athletic leadership program as part of a comprehensive school-wide sexual assault prevention project. This program was piloted in a large urban high school and complemented the Coaching Boys into Men® program being offered to every boys’ team.

To learn more about how we are working with the sports community on ending sexual violence in one generation, please visit theSport + Prevention Center. Tweet at @RALIANCEOrg to share how you’re celebrating National Girls & Women in Sports Day and helping your community.

Sport is Part of the Solution to End Sexual and Domestic Violence – Web Conference

With millions of young people participating in sport every year, sport is uniquely positioned to take action toward ending sexual and domestic violence. Sport develops young people by teaching skills, values, and practices which can get to the root causes of sexual and domestic violence to prevent it.

Speakers Alan Heisterkamp of the University of Northern Iowa, Valencia Peterson of Open Door Abuse Awareness & Prevention, and Ward Urion of LifeWire will share how they have been able to develop partnerships with school programs, coaches, and athletes to help implement prevention strategies in athletics.

Sport can be part of the solution to ending sexual and domestic violence. Join us February 13, 2019 at 3:30 pm Eastern as RALIANCE partners with PreventConnect for an informative webinar on how you can harness the power and influence of sport to prevent sexual and domestic violence in your community. 

By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

1. Identify key elements of how secondary and youth athletic programs can instill personal responsibility, promote respectful behavior, in working to prevent sexual violence and relationship abuse.

2. Describe the values of partnerships between sexual and domestic violence prevention experts and high school sport programs and coaches.

3. Identify challenges and solutions to working with and within athletic programs and administrators on sexual and domestic violence prevention.

REGISTER HERE

Title IX comment period sees unprecedented number of comments from advocates, survivors and others

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos unveiled her plan in November to revise Title IX regulations on how campuses handle cases of sexual assault that, she says, would better protect the accused. The clap back has been profound. The stakes are high. When new Title IX rules are finalized, they will be the law.

In the last 60 day period when the U.S. Federal Register formally published the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, advocates, survivors, and others submitted over 100,000 comments – an estimated 20 times what is typically received for a major regulatory proposal.

In an era when sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse will no longer be tolerated, campuses should be championing a culture of safety and respect on campus. This level of commentary shows that there has been significant discussion about what’s working on campuses and what’s not.

One in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college and more than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault. The rates are even higher – 1 in 4 – undergraduate students who are transgender or gender non-conforming. Since 2016, anecdotal evidence shows acts of campus harassment and violence have increased.

DeVos’ proposed changes go against what experts are saying about these cases and over 900 mental health professionals agreed. So much has to go right for survivors of sexual violence. They have to trust systems that time and time again are ill-equipped to support trauma survivors. Many students understand this all too well having experienced violence prior to college in their childhoods and adolescence.

Advocates are concerned these new regulations will make it harder for survivors to want to report and also increase harm for those who do report. The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV)—one of the three national sexual violence prevention organizations that lead RALIANCE—joined the thousands of advocates in submitting a comment that highlighted the devastating impact that the proposed rule would have on our schools and student survivors.

DeVos’ revisions would reduce campus liability making them only required to examine cases that take place on campus. They would require students to report sexual misconduct to “an official who has the authority to institute corrective measures” rather than a trusted peer like a residential adviser. And they would define sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity.” And very concerning is language requiring colleges to hold live hearings where both sides have a chance to cross-examine testimony.

With this level of public commentary, as well as scrutiny by the 116th Congress, it’s time the Department of Education listen to the experts.


When we replace “The best men can get” with “The best men can be.”

For many young men, learning to shave can often feel like a rite of passage and a sign of physical maturity. While much has been written about the negative impact of sexualized and derogatory advertising on women and girls, advertising can also influence how young men view masculinity. Razor manufacturer Gillette’s new ad has sparked an important conversation about addressing problematic masculinity head-on.

“By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come,” Gillette president Gary Coombe said in a company press release about the ad.

Through the ad, Gillette celebrates healthy masculinity and offers an important reminder that ending sexual violence in one generation will require everyone—including boys and men—to practice safety, respect and equality in our everyday situations.

What’s more is that Gillette’s bold decision to publicly champion these values through an ad speaks to the responsibility that companies have in creating change and demonstrating that prevention is possible. Organizations looking to join this important cultural movement should take note of three steps that Gillette took when launching this ad:

Review advertising and branding standards  – Gilette announced that it will be reviewing its public-facing content—ads, images, and words— to ensure their standards fully reflected “the ideals of Respect, Accountability and Role Modelling.”

Champion social responsibility – Gillette has taken a firm stand to lean into their values and not issued a retraction. They are taking on social change as a part of their organizational values and looking at the ways they can contribute to changing social norms around what being the best a man can be means.

Support and invest in non-profit partners – Gillette has partnered with the Building A Better Man project as well as The Boys and Girls Club of America and has declared their intention to donate $1 million over the next three years to US charities that engage young men and boys to prevent violence.

The Gillette ad has sparked an important conversation about healthy masculinity, and RALIANCE hopes Gillette will continue to play an active role in encouraging boys and men to be the best they can be. 

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.

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.

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