Monday, January 25, 2010

A National Rape Prevention Education Campaign Worth Voting For

Taken directly from Ideas for Change website:

There Is No Excuse and Never An Invitation To Rape

Our vision is a world without violence. Where no child is abused, no wife battered, no friend raped. A world without terror, without threats, without wounds from intentional actions. Where the strong provide for the vulnerable, where the vulnerable become empowered, and where every kind of family is safe and secure.

Sexual assault is an ongoing health, social, human rights and criminal justice issue with real consequences for just about everyone.  In America, one in six women and one in thirty-three men are raped in their lifetimes.  Victims of assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.  Victims of intimate partner violence pay more than 18.5 million visits to mental health care providers a year.  Especially vulnerable are teens, 20% of female high school students are identified as having been hurt physically or sexually by a date or intimate partner.  

Peace Over Violence proposes wide-scale, national public education designed to raise awareness, demystify attitudes and change social norms that tolerate sexual violence and allow rape to persist.  Prevention messages will be relayed through classrooms, living rooms, and boardrooms.  Social and broadcast media as well as grassroots campaigns will stimulate conversation and spread the message of the possibilities of prevention to women and men, boys and girls.

For the past 11 years, Peace Over Violence has mounted a public awareness campaign, “Denim Day,” to protest against rape.  The original Denim Day event was held to call attention to a 1992 Italian Supreme Court verdict that overturned a rape conviction stating:  “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”  Last year, one million individuals participated in Denim Day Campaign activities by wearing jeans, taking part in rallies, talking about sexual assault with their friends and families and getting educated about how to stop rape.  Participating schools, businesses, organizations and individuals registered on and received Denim Day action kits, including posters, flyers, myth/fact sheets, buttons, temporary tattoos, and suggestions for how to organize a rape prevention education campaign in their community. 

As part of Ideas for Change, we can make a significant impact by taking the message of Denim Day to a national stage where the White House and federal lawmakers can collaborate with corporations, schools, community organizations and the media to prevent rape. Vote Here!

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