Quick Hit: Transforming community responses to rape

Rebecca Nagle of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture has a great post at Everyday Feminism about the challenges of publicly supporting survivors of sexual violence. She writes:

Currently, we have plenty of models for how individuals can support survivors of rape.

Feminists have built and maintained crisis centers, hotlines, and emergency services. Anti-violence organizations have created excellent how-to’s and information guides for friends and families. Counselors and therapists are trained to help rape survivors recover from trauma.

While there is still work to be done to provide survivors with adequate services, our culture understands the need for these services.

And this is all a great start.

But until we create public spaces where the experiences of survivors are honored, Americans’ reactions will continue to do more harm than good for a population that has already experienced enough harm.

Private responses to sexual violence make sense in our collective consciousness. What our culture does not yet understand is how to support survivors publicly.

What should high school students do when one of their classmates is gang-raped at a weekend party? What should a town do when a local hero is prosecuted for assault? What should a family do when the reality of incest surfaces?

Where is the how-to guide for them?

There isn’t one.

The article details three key steps to transform our community responses to sexual violence: We need to “honor the experience of survivors,” “remove the stigma,” and “create space for healing.” Check out the full piece for Nagle’s thoughts on how we’ve begun working toward these goals and what more we must do.

New Haven, CT

Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX, a national legal education campaign against campus gender-based violence. Alexandra has written for publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Nation, and she has spoken about violence against women and reproductive justice on MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NPR. Through Know Your IX, she has organized with students across the country to build campuses free from discrimination and violence, developed federal policy on Title IX enforcement, and has testified at the Senate. At Yale Law, Alexandra focuses on antidiscrimination law and is a member of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. Alexandra is committed to developing and strengthening responses to gender-based violence outside the criminal justice system through writing, organizing, and the law. Keep an eye out for The Feminist Utopia Project, co-edited by Alexandra and forthcoming from the Feminist Press (2015).

Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX.

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