3 Young Activists Fighting Sexual Assault on Campus

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to recognize these three brave activists working to end to sexual violence on campus.

1. Geneviève Rogers

How does it feel to hear a close friend say they’ve been raped? Geneviève Rogers struggles to describe it.

She was sad. She was angry. And she resolved to find a solution.

“I co-founded Every Voice because I saw sexual violence statistics come to life through the stories of my close friends,” Rogers explains. “It has left me with a resolve to find holistic and sustainable strategies to tackle this problem.”

Rogers is one of many advocates across the country fighting to confront sexual assault on campus. She started her work four years ago as a Wellesley College student and continues the effort as a 2016 alum.

Every Voice will hold a rally on April 10 to push the Massachusetts legislature to pass two laws: H.4159 and S.2203.

H.4159 would require colleges in the state to ask students to fill out an anonymous survey on sexual assault. And S.2203 would push schools to better report and respond to campus sexual violence.

After all, victimization rates haven’t improved much since the 1970s and ’80s. At least 1 in 5 women will be assaulted during college. And people of other genders are survivors too.

Campus sexual assault reports have more than doubled since 2001. And while the high number of reports is certainly disturbing, Rogers is heartened that survivors feel more comfortable coming forward.

2. Ivy Lee

“I honestly admire all the student activists that I’ve met. Everyone is so passionate and eager to get involved,” says fellow activist Ivy Lee. “They’re all really knowledgeable about this issue and are willing to go the extra mile to see these bills passed.”

For Lee, sexual assault is personal. She didn’t get involved in advocacy until near the end of her college career, but she’s since spoken in front of her state’s Joint Committee on Higher Education, as well as various colleges, groups and legislators.

With the rise of #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, more survivors are sharing their stories. Lee wants people to start believing and supporting them.

Governments can better track how and where sexual assaults happen. Schools can offer bystander intervention programs and partner with local crisis centers for access to rape kits and mental health counseling. Survivors can rely on confidential advocates who will point them to resources.

3. John Gabrieli

As recent Harvard graduate John Gabrieli notes, many of the people survivors can go to are mandated reporters, so they have to pass on information to the police. It’s no surprise, then, that survivors might not feel comfortable talking with them.

In addition to confidential advocates, schools can also provide accommodations in housing and academics for students that may drop out of class or have to live in the same dorm with their rapist.

Gabrieli says he’s been impressed with how many students support survivors. College Democrats and Republicans, for instance, both support the bills that Every Voice is pushing.

“The message we got back was resounding,” Gabrieli said. “So many people said, ‘Yes. I’ve seen this happening. And I want to do something about it.’”

And if you want to make a difference on an issue you care about, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.

 

Photo Credit: Amanda Capasso/Flickr

26 comments

Chad A
Chad Aabout a year ago

Thank you!

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DAVID fleming
Past Member about a year ago

Thanks

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David C
David Cabout a year ago

good for them, future world leaders

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Chrissie R
Chrissie Rabout a year ago

Thanks for posting

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA Rabout a year ago

Finally younger people are standing up for each other more often. Bright blessings and thanks to them. 💕 No doubt petition signed & shared.

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One Heart inc
Carl Rosenstockabout a year ago

Thanks!!

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Janis K
Janis Kabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Liliana G
Liliana Garciaabout a year ago

I agree with Genevieve. The rapist should be removed from the building until the matter is resolved in court. If proven he should serve time!

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a year ago

Thanks!

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DAVID f
Past Member about a year ago

Signed

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