Culture

Statement on Roy Moore’s announcement to run for the US Senate in 2020

“Roy Moore’s announcement is a direct affront to survivors of sexual violence and the people of Alabama. His attempt to re-enter public life without taking ownership of the irreparable harm he has done should be a reminder that, now more than ever, we need to hold accountable those who use their positions of power to exploit and abuse the most vulnerable in our society.

“Not too long ago, a critical mass of voters in Alabama made a powerful statement: sexual violence and abuse won’t be tolerated from public officials. We are in a watershed moment for sexual violence prevention and survivors and women across the country will be counting on the voters of Alabama to make sure we don’t go back.”.

Read the statement.

Football players in a huddle #RollRedRollPBS Monday, June 17 at 10 PM on PBS

Interview Excerpts: Roll Red Roll Documentary Film Director Nancy Schwartzman

Ahead of today’s debut of the Roll Red Roll  documentary on PBS, Director Nancy Schwartzman spoke with Brian Pinero, former RALIANCE National Project Coordinator, about the film’s efforts to document the aftermath of the 2012 high school rape case in Steubenville, Ohio and shed light on the broader culture that normalizes and enables sexual violence. Below are lightly edited excerpts from the interview. The full podcast is available here.

In August, RALIANCE will also host a special screening of the film and panel discussion during the National Sexual Assault Conference. The panel will include Schwartzman and members of the Pennsylvania sports community to discuss the film and the role sport can play in preventing sexual violence.

Director Nancy Schwartzman on the impact of sexual violence in a community:

I’ve done anti-violence work and I know that a rape is not just between two people. It really ripples out and affects so many relationships – relationships with victim or perpetrators’ family, friends, communities, church, school. It’s a network of relationships and there’s a tear when that happens. [Steubenville] was just a microcosm of all these ripple effects.

On why she wanted to make a film about sexual violence that was not about the victim:

If we are going to change the culture, we have to look at the behavior, we have to look at the perpetrators. We have to look at the culture that enables rape because victims are on such a spectrum. It really makes no difference what a victim of violence is doing, or wearing, or drinking or not drinking. So, shifting the focus and making this film really about the boys and really about the town is new.

On what was exciting about the film reviews:

They were making references to the Kavanaugh hearings, making references to Spring Break and fraternities. I’m like, this is a film about high school football context, and I love that you’re pulling it as wide as it is.

On the need to hold others and ourselves accountable:

What’s powerful about the film and where we all need to go is to less of a call-out culture and to more of a call-in…We’ve all known about something and not done anything. We’ve all participated tacitly because this has been our culture. Our schools, our jokes, our pop culture, our television has enabled us to be desensitized…We’re all part of it, and there’s like a real fear and unwillingness to acknowledge that sometimes people you love can do really bad things.

On the important role that coaches play in prevention:

It really needs to be modeled also by coaches. It’s not fair to put all of this pressure on 16-year-olds. The adults from the top need to be modeling this is what is acceptable on my field and off the field.

On what gives her hope:

[W]e decided making sure that this campaign invites men to join us…We’ve had amazing people like Wade Davis, former NFL player, openly gay, incredible. I want to be around passionate men who are working alongside us to prevent gender-based violence, that gives me hope. The women in my film give me hope. A blogger Alex Goddard, Rachel Dissell, Marianne [Hemmeter]…these are women who made this s— happen…It’s about the critical reviews from all of these men who are like we are so done with this culture. None of the reviews are an indictment of football, it’s much larger…The more allies we can bring in the more hopeful I think it is.

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.  

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


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!

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