- Materials for an interactive art projects
- A media/social media guide
- A tool-kit for projects and events during the month of September, including the Safe Campus, Strong Voices: Your Voice campaign which engages students both in person and through social media to be proactive bystanders.
“As a survivor of stranger rape, I never had an interest in taking a self-defense class. I teach people that being aware of your surroundings is critical. We live in a world where women must be on high alert. We teach women to avoid certain places at specific times, buddy up, and be safe rather than sorry. However we don’t have the physical tools to fight back. While I wanted to have every tool available to protect myself, the possibility of learning something that could have changed the trajectory of my history made self defense feel like a place I did not belong -to learn what could have been seemed tragic. It was for those who haven’t been attacked.
Having a strong sense that self-defense would be cathartic for me, my husband convinced me to attend his Arnis class. As I surveyed the room – six guys, an instructor and a red duffle bag filled with knives – I fled through the front door. I was terrified. This was not for me. I did not have one survivor friend who went to self defense as part of their healing. His instructor recommended IMPACT Personal Safety, a program for women that he had been involved with. I watched their videos online. I was impressed with the intensity and focus of the course. Good for them, I thought, but not good for me.
Then I read IMPACT’s mission: men and women dedicated to ending the cycle of violence, a goal of many anti-sexual assault organizations I work with. More specifically the goals of IMPACT are ones that this activist should know. The mission of IMPACT Personal Safety is to end the cycle of violence in society by empowering women, children, and men with the self-esteem and the tools necessary to take control of their lives through self-defense, boundary setting and the understanding that your life is worth fighting for.
I reluctantly signed up for the eight weeks basics course. At the first class, I met 13 other strong, smart women who had been attacked or feared it, along with four instructors – one instructor, two assists, and our male instructor – the mugger. Three and a half hours later, I wished every woman knew what I had just learned. I left feeling exhausted but forever changed. We were taught surprisingly simple but highly effective physical moves to protect ourselves in real life situations that we chose and fought out with our fully padded and protected male instructor. I watched my classmates elbow, strike, and kick their way out of every scenario. IMPACT is not just about learning how to fight but arming yourself with verbal skills to deescalate a situation – and if all else fails – we were prepared to fight. These boundary setting skills crossover to the every day – from a difficult boss to a needy friend, IMPACT taught us to assess situations and apply the right tools.
Every week I felt a little wiser, a little stronger, a little safer. This class was about protecting myself in the present, and adding these skills to my activist toolbox. I went from vehemently arguing why the class was not for me to encouraging every woman to take the basics class. If anything the class reinforced that I skillfully survived the attack. For survivors, this is an empowering moment: taking the power back. You don’t need to practice it- it’s muscle memory. Instead of freezing, your body has been taught to fight back.
The class ends with graduation – a mighty send off with an opportunity to show friends and family what you’ve learned. My husband, friends, and even a client attended. I watched thirteen strong women I met just eight weeks earlier confidently and instinctively handle every scenario they were confronted with. We were also applauding each other’s transformations and successes, from walking fearlessly through a parking lot at night, to changing jobs, to feeling a whole lot safer. How many things can you learn in eight classes will change you forever? Self defense is not a mandatory class all children learn in school; we learn what we are taught by family or friends, and then when one becomes a victim of a crime, we blame. We blame ourselves, and criminals know this. So then, how could you not take this class? You want to find the survivor in you? Want to kick that fear through a brick wall? Invest in you and find peace, happiness and some serious strength with IMPACT Personal Safety.”
- Marnie Goodfriend
If you are interested in learning more about IMPACT Personal Safety’s programs and how you might use then as a part of your healing process, you can learn more on their website. I’m linking you straight to their chapter locator page so you can click the one in your area, as each location offers different services. Click here.
“Students [at PACE University] took action by participating in the binding project to spread awareness about violence perpetrated against men and women.
The binding project is a project that’s a part of Angela Rose’s non-profit organization, PAVE. We use this project as a platform to share her story about how she turned her experience as a survivor of sexual violence, into activism. Angela speaks out about sexual violence and the way in which it affects victims worldwide. Students wrote words that they felt like empowered them, on a zip tie. They wore the ties for two days in unity, for the same amount of time that Angela was tied using the material, when she was kidnapped at age 17.”
Check out these great pics from the event!
PAVE invites you to join is in participating in the Office Of Women’s Health, Violence Against Women Steering Committee & The Office on Violence Against Women’s Call to Action: Addressing Sexual Violence on Campus
Tuesday, April 10th; Hubert H. Humphrey Building – Great Hall 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C.
PAVE partner and AAUW organizer Cathy Foxhoven has written a wonderful play, A Mutual Onus to help raise awareness and Shatter the Silence. A Mutual Onus is a compilation of monologues about real women and their continued suffering in developing countries as well as here in the United States. The play premieres tonight, Saturday March 10th in Burlingame, California AND is also available for YOU to purchase and perform on your high school or college campus or in your community. Proceeds from the sale go to benefit PAVE. Please read the article below from Cathy Foxhoven about how you can get involved in A Mutual Onus:
What is a mutual onus? The definition of onus is a burden or an obligation — a duty. Mutual means shared.
One of my dear friends from AAUW, Diane Silven, gave me a copy of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide for Christmas two years ago. I began reading it and found it so disturbing that I couldn’t read it at night — it was hard to sleep. I could only read it while traveling on Caltrain to teach in San Francisco.
The stories of global women’s issues were so powerful, and once I finished the book, I knew that I couldn’t ignore their plight. I had to do more than make a donation. I had to tell those stories in the only way I could — through the power of theater. It became an onus, and I needed to share this responsibility with others.
A Mutual Onus is a compilation of monologues about real women and their continued suffering in developing countries as well as here in the United States. You might recognize their stories from news sources — only the names have been changed to protect the subjects’ identities.
It is hard to imagine that such cruelty could be inflicted upon anyone, but there is hope and help because of international outcries.
You have the opportunity to help these women and girls by seeing this production live on March 10 at 1 p.m. at the Burlingame Library in Burlingame, California, or on April 20 at 7 p.m. at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No advance tickets are necessary. There is a suggested donation of $10.
The play is available for other AAUW branches to perform — in exchange for donations to two organizations that are helping give these women hope and a future: 34 Million Friends, which provides maternal health care, and Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, which raises awareness that we don’t need to suffer silently when we have been sexually violated. We hope that you will generously support the work of these groups.
This post was written by Cathy Foxhoven, AAUW of California program director. Foxhoven has more than 35 years of experience as a professional actor and singer in films, prime time television, soap operas (The Young and the Restless), commercials, voiceovers, radio dramas, print work, and theatre in California, Colorado, Nevada, and Ohio. She is currently a professor at Academy of Arts University in the Motion Pictures and Television Department.
Governor Signs South Dakota Senate Bill 68 so that no statute of limitations applies to certain rape cases!
From Jolene Loetscher:
A huge WIN for victims’ rights happened in South Dakota on March 2nd, 2012. Gov. Daugaard signed Senate Bill 68 which removes the statute of limitations on certain criminal rape cases. This is a great step forward in helping victims become survivors and allowing survivors to find justice. PAVE partner and victim’s rights advocate Jolene Loetscher would like to give a special thanks to Sen. Mark Johnston for his work, friendship and support of her and so many other survivors. She would also like to give a shout out to the Compass Center for its incredible work with this legislation and its on-going mission to provide renewal and recovery. While this means some of the darkest crimes will see the light of justice, we cannot forget that in the darkness remain so many silent tears of victims who need our love and support.
PAVE’s Free SAAM 2012 Toolkit is available NOW for download.
Warning: Sexual assault/Domestic violence triggers ahead.
“Assaulting Women: Veganism, Manarchism, and the Politics of Support”
By: Aaron Boeke
I had thought that I would never again be shocked by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). I refer, of course, not to their undercover video work in research laboratories, fur farms, and animal feedlots, but to their years long campaign of sexist publicity stunts. After placing “hot” naked women in gestation crates on the streets of London, and encouraging women to go hairless “down there” to protest fur, I was at a loss to think of how they could surprise me yet again with their unabashed misogyny. Defying the will of decent people everywhere, they called my bluff. Their newest video campaign features a thin young blonde woman in a neck brace limping down the street. The voice-over explains that she has been the “victim” of her boyfriend’s newfound sexual prowess. After going vegan he became such a “tantric pornstar” that he “knocked the bottom out of [her].” Upon returning to the apartment she finds him in the bedroom plastering over the hole created when he put her head through the wall. In the final frame her pained expression finally lifts as she stands, in bra and underwear, with a look of arousal on her face. The stomach churns. The mind reels.
Perhaps more disturbing than the video itself has been the split reaction it has garnered from the feminist and animal rights communities. PETA long ago proved that they were more than happy to push the normative view of women as mindless sex toys, but crossing the line into an endorsement of sexual violence seemed like it would be the moment in which even ardent supporters could no longer claim that this was just savvy marketing, or give “yes, but” approval to their vile misogyny. The ensuing social media flame wars made short work of that sadly misguided hope. How to engage with a population who refuses to acknowledge that consensual sex does not end with a trip to the hospital is an important question, but it is not the one I am ready to ask.
“Manarchism” was coined to describe the (often) straight, white male “revolutionary” who believes that everyone should be equal but that women should still be responsible for the toilet cleaning and blowjob duties. Because, you know, they’re better at it. It is a term that embodies the exhaustion so many of us feel by the seemingly constant betrayal we experience at the hands of our “friends.” PETA’s ad is just one of many recent examples that spring to mind. The Human Rights Campaign just made Lloyd Blankenfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, their corporate leader of the year. I suppose we no longer need to ask whether the gay corporate elite feel comfortable throwing the rest of the rainbow under the bus.
The silo effect in progressive activism is well known, and again not something I am going to address here. Instead I would like to declare my own commitment to allies over issues. Too many of us are too often left reeling when our personhood is challenged or our safety threatened by the very people we should look to for support. Solidarity for one another across movements must be prioritized over cohesiveness within them. My politics are as complex as my identity, but when PETA attacks women I am a feminist first and a vegan last. Full stop. We can talk about vivisection later. Today remember that I support you. I believe in your right to exist and identify on your terms. And I’ve got your back.
Here is my story;
It was the middle of December 1995; I was a freshman at Whitney Young H.S. on the Westside of Chicago. I lived on the Southside which meant I had to take 2 trains to get to the other side of the city every day. I wasn’t alone in my travels though. My best friend from grammar school, RC, went to the same school. We took the trains together. When we would get to the end of the line, 95th St, we parted ways. I walked the 4 or 5 blocks home alone. There was a KFC and a Burger King on the last block of my daily trek. I frequented both of them, but on this particular day I decided to patronize Burger King. I ordered my usual and exited the store. As I crossed the parking lot, I passed a group of 4 boys. One of them called out to me since I had already passed them. I turned around and said “I’m not walking back so you can catch up“. He obliged. Then there was the usual banter of what’s your name, what school do you go to, etc. The exchange ended with us exchanging numbers. He was older than me, 20 to be exact. He called me that night and we talked for hours. We planned to see each other the next day.
The next day, I told my mother I was going ice skating downtown with RC. This was just a rouse as I was meeting him around the corner. We were supposed to go to the skating rink together. I left the house and he was right where he said he would be. He was in a gray 2 door Cutlass. We drove around to an area that was unfamiliar to me. We pulled up to a 3 flat apartment building and he parked the car. He said he would be right back. He had to run to his grandmother’s house for a moment.
I sat waiting in the car for what seemed like 15 or 20 minutes. He suddenly reappeared at the car. He opened the door and told me to come in for a second. I exited the vehicle and followed him inside. We walked up the stairs to the third floor. There were two apartment doors on both sides of the stair case. He knocked on one door and there was no answer. He turned as if he were getting ready to head down the stairs and threw me down. I tried to get up but he held me down with his body weight. I was squirming trying to get from underneath him but there wasn’t enough room. I was stuck between the wall and the banister. He held me by my neck with one hand and unfastened his pants with the other. Everything after that become a blur. He took from me something I could never get back, my virginity.
When he was done he jumped off me and said “c’mon, I’m gonna take you home”. I felt so low and dirty and ashamed. I walked back to the car staring at the ground. I wanted to run but I didn’t know where I was or how to get home. I got in the car and slumped down in the seat. The weight of everything that just happened hadn’t fully settled in yet. When we got back around my house, he dropped me off in the same place he picked me up. I walked the block home. When I got in the house, I immediately took a shower and went to bed. My mother didn’t have a clue what happened and I intended to keep it that way. I didn’t want a soul to know.
One month after the incident, my secret was still safely tucked inside of me. But things slowly started to change. I started sleeping more and was growing increasingly tired. I just thought I was getting sick and quickly dismissed it. Mom, on the other hand, did not dismiss this sudden change in my behavior. She began questioning my every step. There is truly nothing like a mother and her intuition. One day she asked me if I was pregnant and I quickly denied. Pregnant? No, I’m not pregnant! She handed me a pregnancy test and instructed me how to use it. Three minutes later it was confirmed. Yes, I was pregnant.
Again, my world came crashing down. I was 14 years old how could I be pregnant. I was a virgin! Well I was before it was stolen right out of my hands. My mother was livid so livid that her baby was not only having sex but also pregnant. She had done everything in her power to teach me about sex and having babies and diseases. But in her world, I completely ignored everything she said. She didn’t speak to me for an entire week. When she finally did talk to me I didn’t have the courage to tell her that as a result of me lying to her I was taken advantage of. She decided I was too young to be a mother. There was no way this was going to happen. I hadn’t even finished high school let alone got into college. The pregnancy was aborted shortly thereafter. I buried this entire incident in the deep dark recesses of my mind to never be talked about again. I hid the hurt, the pain, the embarrassment, and the shame.
Today, I am no longer quiet. I found healing through transparency. I have been able to be a shining light to other women and girls who have experienced similar situations. Unfortunately, this was not the end for me. I am a survivor of domestic violence and was married to an abusive controlling spouse. I survived it all. I am a stronger, wiser, better woman because of it. I released all anger, bitterness, and resentment for all the men who have wronged me in my life. Today my life is filled with peace, joy, and true happiness.
Senica Evans is an outspoken survivor, advocate, speaker and author. She has a wonderful website www.SennySen.com where she actively reaches out to survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. She recently released a book Married to Him, which is her story of overcoming a marriage filled with deceit, abuse, and infidelity to joy, peace, and deliverance. She also hosts a weekly Blog Talk Radio show entitled Let’s Chat Radio Show where she discusses all things pertaining to relationships from love to lust and romance to destruction.
WARNING: This story contains some explicit content and could be triggering, please read with caution and self care.
“During my rough coming out my mom wasn’t treating me very well, so I started to become so desperate to get her to quit being such a royal snob to me I began talking to her friends over the phone when they’d call for her, just to get them to get her to quit it. I was 15 and desperate and didn’t know what else to do. One day it ended up being Fred I tried this with, as I tried this with about 3 or 4 friends, and Fred got me to open up to him about my gay troubles over the phone and he right away offered me work to do for filing and things, as he was a piano tuner. When I got there though, I was in his room, and he says to me “hey, want to get off?” he saw the look on my face and tossed it off as he was “being rude sorry”.
Earlier we had talked about massage though so he offered to give me a back rub. When I flipped over at some point he noticed I had an erection, which he put his hand on, and then put in his mouth after undoing my clothes. I was terrified. He was a 60 year old man and I was silent and was at a loss for words. I thought it was my own fault because of my erection and now I know that it wasn’t and that he used me. He continued to go down on me in the coming months, and I was so hurt and torn and confused, thinking I wanted it but knowing that it hurt me, but feeling like I wanted it anyway. I didn’t want to be home with mom and dad who were being very unreasonable at the time; even tricked me into going to an anti gay seminar, so this was my escape from them I felt I needed, which I was convinced I wanted, although it hurt me horribly to deal with it, but he fooled me into thinking he was my friend and that I wanted it. He also gave me hope that I had a place to stay when I was 18 as I believed my parents would probably kick me out; so I continued to be his friend despite my torn and horrible self loathing feelings.
It took me about 10 years to fully grasp it was not my fault. I told the police about it and it was an investigation for a while but ultimately it was too late and nothing would happen with it. He is on the streets today.”