April is #SexualAssaultAwarenessMonth, so we here at VINA want to do our part to support survivors and inform their allies.
According to statistics cultivated by Rainn.org, 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of sexual assault, and there’s a high chance you know a survivor. Whether or not you know (or are) a survivor, its a good idea to spend this month learning how to be a better ally.
Start off your awareness education by learning about some influential and inspiring vinas!
Wagatwe Wanjuki is one of the feminist activists you should be following right now. Ever since 2009, when she campaigned for better sexual assault policies at her alma mater Tufts University, Wanjuki has worked as a speaker, writer, and digital strategist to abolish rape culture and gender-based violence.
I can personally vouch for Wanjuki’s work and influence. Years ago, she spoke at my alma mater Knox College for the school’s annual “Take Back The Night” rally. Her presentation helped fellow students better understand the importance of supporting survivors and the impact of dismantling rape culture.
Jess Ladd brings sexual health and wellbeing to the forefront of #SexualHealthAwarenessMonth. Her organization, Sexual Health Innovations, uses technology to help people make more informed decisions about sex, STIs, sexual assault reporting, etc.
Most notably, Ladd developed Callisto for students to securely report assaults online without having to identify their assailant. Callisto empowers survivors and gives them agency over the reporting process—something that other programs and reporting procedures fail at. It offers a way to learn about options and resources, create time-stamped records of an assault, report electronically to authorities, and even create the condition to report an assault if someone else names the same assailant.
Beth Stelling is a stand-up comedian who gained national attention last year after talking about her abusive relationship on Instagram. In doing so, she shed light on the issues of sexual assault, domestic abuse, rape culture, etc. and inspired other women to take a stand.
As a result of Stelling’s work, other comedians and improvisers in Los Angeles began actively uniting against the rampant sexism, harassment, and abuse in their community. Thanks to their efforts, the comedy community has become a safer place.
RESOURCES AND HOTLINES
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
- RAINN Hotline (also offers online chat): 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Check out the hotlines listed above for support and discuss these amazing women with your vinas!
(Featured Image via Lifeafterdatingapsycho)