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Beyond the Breakthrough with RALIANCE at #NSAC2019

The #MeToo movement ushered in a cultural reckoning that calls for solutions to the wide-spread problem of sexual violence. We cannot forget the revelations that #MeToo has taught us, and we must channel these lessons to enact culture changes in behavior and attitudes that will ultimately prevent sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse from occurring in the first place. 

At the 2019 National Sexual Assault Conference, RALIANCE is sponsoring a track of sessions designed to spotlight examples of concrete and effective prevention actions and activities. As we consider the conference theme—Beyond the Breakthrough—we understand that there are many innovations and pivots that will propel the change needed to create safer, healthier communities and workplaces. 

Read the full content of this blog featured on Ms Magazine and all the blogs tagged with Beyond the Breakthrough!

How the hotel industry can help end sexual violence and human trafficking

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) employs 8 million workers in the U.S. lodging industry and has chosen to use the attention they command to begin a conversation about combating human trafficking. On July 30, AHLA announced their No Room for Trafficking Campaign through a public service announcement. No Room for Trafficking displays the hotel industry’s comprehensive approach to fighting human trafficking. This is a wonderful example of an industry using their power and leverage to enact positive change and create safer, more equitable workplaces where violence is not tolerated, AHLA provides an empowering example for other industries, demonstrating that focusing on prevention before harm occurs is being part of the solution to ending sexual violence in one generation.

“In the fight against human trafficking, the hotel industry is united in our commitment to being part of the solution,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA President & CEO. “By taking action to provide human trafficking awareness training for our employees and the sharing of hotel industry best practices, we hope to serve as an example for other industries, while finding new opportunities to partner across the tourism sector and those joining us in this important fight.” Read the full AHLA Press Release.

AHLA has formed partnerships with a wide range of national organizations, all dedicated to promoting workplace safety and preventing sexual violence. This list includes: ECPAT-USAPolarisBESTNational Sexual Violence Resource CenterNational Alliance to End Sexual ViolenceDC Rape Crisis CenterNational Domestic Violence HotlinePeace Over ViolenceRALIANCERAINNSafe House Project, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

No Room For Trafficking begins with public awareness, but it also includes intensive training for industry staff on how to identify and respond effectively to situations. Additionally, it establishes a companywide policy and promotes sharing success stories and best practices.

We commend AHLA for using their position in the public eye to promote a conversation about stopping sexual violence, and we encourage other organizations and industries to join RALIANCE and partners such as AHLA in the fight to stamp out sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse once and for all.

Trend Alert: NWLC finds more states are strengthening workplace reforms

A year after #MeToo went viral, state-level legislation strengthening workplace harassment laws have become a growing trend. So far, 15 states have enacted workplace policy reforms, all documented in a new report from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC): Progress in Advancing Me Too Workplace Reforms in #20Statesby2020.  

States are recognizing that employers should:

Require preventative anti-harassment training.

Prohibit nondisclosure agreements as a condition of employment or as part of a settlement agreement.

Expand protections to include independent contractors, interns, or graduate students.

Extend the statute of limitations for filing a harassment claim.

Over 300 state legislators from 40 states and Washington DC have signed the #20Statesby2020 pledge, promising to work with survivors and afflicted communities to build robust policy solutions. Preventative policies are essential to reducing harm in workplaces, schools, and assisted care facilities.

“To prevent sexual harassment at work, we must start by addressing it in schools since the treatment and behavior students experience from their peers, teachers, and administrators ultimately shapes workplace norms around gender, race, respect, and accountability.”

(NWLC, Page 4)

Sexual violence isn’t a bipartisan issue. It’s important that all state governments take an interest in the safety of their constituents at work and at school. Read the NWLC report to investigate the movement in your state. Additionally, a helpful resource is the Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence National Resource Center by Futures Without Violence, which supports survivors, employers, co-workers, and advocates.

At RALIANCE, we believe companies have a responsibility to promote a safe work environment that is committed to the well-being of all employees. We also help companies enact systemic cultural change which prevents sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse. Learn more online.

Condemning Violence and Sexual Abuse at the Border

Last week, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape joined dozens of anti-sexual violence organizations to speak out against the mistreatment of refugees and immigrants held in detention at the U.S. southern border. Around this time last year, RALIANCE also called for an end to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border and we join our colleagues in opposing this destructive immigration policy.

ANTI-SEXUAL VIOLENCE COALITIONS NATIONWIDE CONDEMN THE MISTREATMENT OF REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS HELD IN DETENTION. Demand end to ICE raids and POC community monitoring

The text of the full statement is below and the can also be found here.

State and national sexual assault coalitions across the country are united in condemning the separation of children from family members as well as the violence and dehumanizing conditions faced by people being held in detention. The treatment of adults and children while detained in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) migrant detention centers under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is dehumanizing and therefore unacceptable. It must come to an immediate end.

We represent survivors of and advocates against sexual harassment, abuse and assault throughout the country. Many people coming to the U.S. are fleeing from sexual violence in their countries of origin. As advocates, it is incumbent upon us to bear witness and take action against cruelty.

Whereas there are no less than two immigrant detention centers per state, including Puerto Rico, and 184 centers in the state of Texas, we demand accountability from all officials and legislators for the atrocities that continue within these tax-payer funded detention facilities and camps.

Recorded reports of abuse include the following:

  • Overcrowding
  • Lack of access to clean water and food
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Medical neglect
  • Verbal/psychological abuse
  • LGBTQ+ discriminatory behavior

_

There have also been reports of systemic and widespread sexual harassment, abuse, and assault occurring in ICE detention facilities across the nation and only 2 percent of complaints having been investigated, in clear violation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards. According to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) documents, thousands of migrant children have experienced sexual abuse while in U.S. government custody under the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) since 2015.

Reporters have not been allowed to speak with detainees or to record the conditions inside the facilities. Doctors are not able to access important medical records of refugees due to the lack of transparency from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These agencies’ policies are unacceptable and undermine advocates working to end and prevent violence, who understand that a culture of silence creates a dangerous environment for violence to run rampant and unchecked.

It is imperative that all legislators, local and national, address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border immediately. We demand the current administration completely end the practice of separating children from their parents and minimize the placement of children and families in detention settings that expose them to further traumatization and dangerous living conditions. Additionally, legislators must work together to support policies that reduce obstacles to good-faith asylum claims, and avoid creating new ones.

We ask our supporters to contact their legislators regarding this statement and mention the concerns we have listed. We demand an end to secrecy by all immigration agencies and an end to the inhumane conditions that refugees are forced to endure inside detention centers and camps. We want an end to U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids that unfairly target communities of color and funnel more people into the inhumane conditions within DHS detention facilities. We urge all legislators to take a bipartisan, humanitarian position by acting to protect immigrants and refugees within our borders. Human rights, and the dignity of every person, are not partisan issues.

Other actions include supporting and reaching out to the sponsors of crucial legislation such as:

  • The Northern Triangle and Border Stabilization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3524), which requires better treatment of detained children at the border, including by setting standards for CBP facilities and directing the hiring of child welfare professionals.
  • The Child Trafficking Victims Protection and Welfare Act (S. 661), which provides for the safe and appropriate treatment of children in CBP custody by requiring at least one licensed child welfare professional at ports of entry and Border Patrol stations that regularly hold a large number of children. The bill also provides minimum standards of care for children in CBP custody.

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Together, we can prevent the continued sexual harassment, abuse, and assault of all persons regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or documentation status.

SIGNED: 

ALAS: ALIANZA LATINA EN CONTRA LA AGRESIÓN SEXUAL

AMERICAN SAMOA ALLIANCE AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

ARTE SANA

ARIZONA COALITION TO END SEXUAL & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

ARKANSAS COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

CALIFORNIA COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

CONNECTICUT ALLIANCE TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE

COLORADO COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

FLORIDA COUNCIL AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE

IDAHO COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 

IOWA COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

JANE DOE INC. (Massachusetts) 

MAINE COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

MARYLAND COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

MINNESOTA COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

MONTANA COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

NATIONAL ALLIANCE TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE

NEW HAMPSHIRE COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE 

NEW JERSEY COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

NEW MEXICO COALITION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT PROGRAMS, INC.

NEW YORK STATE COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

NEVADA COALITION TO END DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

OHIO ALLIANCE TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE

OREGON COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

PENNSYLVANIA COALITION AGAINST RAPE

TEXAS ASSOCIATION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

VERMONT NETWORK AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

VIRGINIA SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACTION ALLIANCE

WASHINGTON COALITION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT PROGRAMS

WEST VIRGINIA FOUNDATION FOR RAPE INFORMATION AND SERVICES 

WISCONSIN COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

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Aziz Ansari wearing a tuxedo at a red carpet event

Aziz Ansari is back – are we ready for redemption?

Ansari’s fall from grace deepened a crucial divide in the #MeToo reckoning, according to Vox’s Caroline Framke, exposing this duality of the “good feminist ally” who wore his Time’s Up pin proudly who also acted this way. Now the guy who wrote the book on Modern Romance is poised for a comeback. His new stand-up comedy special, “Aziz Ansari: Right Now,” premiered today on Netflix, in which he addresses the sexual misconduct.  

It begs the question in the #MeToo era: Are we ready to talk about redemption songs? 

According to the woman whose story sparked Aziz’s #MeToo spotlight, Ansari texted her later stating: “Clearly I misread things in the moment and I’m truly sorry.” (Babe.net January 2018). Also in this text he discusses his intention, not his impact. Far too often a so-called apology focuses on what was meant or wasn’t meant in the moment but does not acknowledge the harm. This is not an apology.

Inherent in this story is our tendency to want to boil down it all down to “he said, she said,” a dynamic that ignores the fact that people who do these things often make strategic choices to ensure there aren’t other witnesses, as well as all the ways cultural, social, and gender cues play into dating, sex, and relationships. Dating norms and assumptions are shaped by our culture – often not in healthy ways. Ansari took some time away from the spotlight to reflect on this incident.

#MeToo kindled a fire that is burning its way through organizations, industries, and our communities. The anger and pain caused by years of being silenced and ignored are still red-hot. We have yet to really focus on prevention – we can intervene earlier and change behaviors. We have to. There are no throw-away people. There’s no voting anyone off the island. What if they, too, want to have a comedy show on Netflix and want to be back in all of our good graces?  

Here’s a possible ruler – Did you:

Own it. You messed up. Don’t avoid or ignore it – take responsibility for your mistake.

Be proactive and seek help. Asking for help is a sign of strength and growth.

Put in place measures so this doesn’t happen again. Get an accountability buddy. Look at policies in your organization.

It doesn’t go away, but you learn to accept it. You caused harm. This does not define your entire character. Use this information to be better and do better.

What #MeToo started is a cultural revolution and building healthier and safer spaces takes time. It would be easy to focus on individual accountability and forget about community and wider societal accountability. We can also ask Netflix and other corporations and businesses what policies and practices are in place to ensure the artists they work with adhere to the standards and values they have as an organization? For more information about what employees, managers, HR professionals and even Boards of Directors can do, check out RALIANCE’s series of open letters.

Photo by David Shankbone. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

Accepting Nominations for the Linda Saltzman New Investigator Award

The 7th Linda Saltzman New Investigator Award recognizes an outstanding new investigator with 2-10 years of experience working in the field of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, teen dating violence, human trafficking, or related issues. RALIANCE has joined with Futures Without Violence, the CDC Foundation, and a committee of experts to select one outstanding individual to receive the Linda Saltzman New Investigator Award for 2020. The recipient will receive passage to the 2020 National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence in Chicago, IL, which includes airfare, hotel, waived Conference registration (April 26-28th, 2020) and a small stipend. Additionally, they will be guaranteed a Presentation slot and mentoring session (15 minutes) with a leader in the anti-violence field.  The awardee will be recognized during the conference by representatives of Futures Without Violence, RALIANCE, and the CDC Foundation.

Nominations are accepted from professionals in the field, as well as from the Conference’s Steering Committee, and will be selected based on the quality of their research and its implications for the field; commitment to underserved communities; mentorship and collaboration with fellow researchers, health providers and advocates in the field. We are interested in research candidates who come from a variety of professions including, but not limited to doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, public health professionals and advocates.

Nominees will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • How their research reflects potential to answer critical questions in the field
  • Usefulness of the research for practice
  • How their work demonstrates a commitment to the underserved communities (with respect to race, gender, sexual orientation, income/class, etc.)
  • How their work demonstrates a commitment to fellow researchers, health providers and advocates in the field through collaboration, training and/or mentoring
  • Publications from the nominee (including quality, prestige and number of publications in consideration with number of years in the field)
  • How their area of focus is relevant to the award, Dr. Saltzman and/or this field:

To nominate a candidate, please submit the following 3 items:

1.    Click here to access the electronic Candidate Submission/Application Form (also linked below).

2.   A narrative of up to 2 pages addressing the questions designated on the form below.

3.   The candidate’s CV which describes their education, any publications and their work in the field of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, teen dating violence, human trafficking, or related issues.

Submission Deadline: Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 at 5pm Pacific (6pm Mountain; 7pm Central; 8pm Eastern). All will be informed between September 30-October 4, 2019.

RALIANCE celebrates 3rd anniversary

Since our official launch on June 28, 2016, there has been a monumental shift in our culture’s understanding of how common sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse are in the United States and around the world. We are encouraged by this progress, but know that there is still much work to do to end sexual violence in one generation.

As we celebrate this milestone, we thought we’d reflect on the progress we’ve made and lessons we’ve learned these past three years:   

We know prevention is possible – and it is happening. Just check out the 62 prevention projects representing over $2.77 million we have supported via four rounds of impact grants!

How we talk about sexual violence impacts how people understand the problem and what to do about it. RALIANCE partnered with the Berkeley Media Studies Group to research how we can all do a better job talking about prevention. RALIANCE’s advocacy toolkit is also helping more people speak with their elected officials about the topics important to them when it comes to stopping sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse.

Sport is part of the solution to ending sexual violence. We launched the first of its kind Sport + Prevention Center and engage in on-going conversations with researchers and leaders in atheltics on prevention strategies and solutions.

Safe environments and strong communities start with leaders. We are proud to support the next generation of change-makers as well as honor leaders in policy work, advocacy, industry, and journalism who leading the way for sexual violence prevention.

We’re grateful to our partners and to all of you. Thank you for being a part of our journey and part of the solution to stamp out sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse once and for all.  

Why it’s Important the 2020 Democratic Presidential Debates Talk About #MeToo

The legacy of #MeToo means candidates must address sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse as part of their platforms – and, importantly, how these topics will be prevented and addressed within their own campaigns. This week’s first Democratic presidential debate is an opportunity to that.

Time’s Up representatives Eva Longoria, Ana Navarro, and Hilary Rosen recently penned an important op ed noting the significant role of the moderators in these debates to shape the questions posed to the candidates. They wrote, “It’s true that women and people of color share plenty of concerns with white men. But asking those general questions isn’t enough: We need to know how the candidates would approach issues that are of special concern to female voters.”

As the presidential debates kick off, we thought we’d share some best practices for how political candidates can talk about sexual violence prevention and champion safe, healthy and harassment-free workplaces and environments while on the campaign trail:   

Be proactive. Promote a culture of respect and inclusion. In many ways, how campaigns structure and treat their staff sends a message about the political candidate’s broader values and priorities. As the leaders of their campaigns, political candidates and their senior staff are responsible for modeling good behavior and setting norms and standards for a work environment that promotes the safety and well-being of all employees.

Maintain a clear and comprehensive anti-harassment policy. Candidates should put into 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.

Talk about how all of us can do better to help end sexual violence in one generation. Here’s an example of what a candidate could say: “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.”

Pledge to put more funding and resources to support survivors and expand access to prevention education. Addressing the serious gaps in such issues as reducing the rape kit backlog, addressing sexual assault on campuses as well as in our military requires a significant economic investment.

For more tips, check out these RALIANCE resources: What Bernie should have said about allegations of sexual harassment on his campaign and Advice to 2020 Political Candidates and Campaigns.

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