FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Susan Celia Swan
V-DAY AND SAFER'S CAMPUS ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT
EMPOWERS COLLEGE STUDENTS ACROSS THE NATION
TO HOLD SCHOOLS ACCOUNTABLE
FOR ADDRESSING SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Project Celebrates One Year Anniversary on December 1st;
Launches Winter Break Challenge
New York, NY, December 1, 2010—College students are taking action to hold their schools accountable for making their campus communities safer. Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) and V-Day are proud to announce the success of the first year of student submissions to our online database of sexual assault policies from schools across the country. In an effort to publish 400 policies by May 2011, SAFER and V-Day are launching the Winter Break Challenge to further build the Campus Accountability Project (CAP) Policies Database as a tool for student-led movements to reform sexual assault policies. Currently, the CAP database houses 130 policies in an online, public and searchable database which details what colleges and universities are doing to prevent, reduce and respond to sexual violence on campus.
CAP publicly recognizes the successes of some schools' sexual assault policies while also identifying gaps in others. Preliminary results show that an overwhelming majority (75%) of schools in the database provide 24-hour crisis services to survivors as well as security measures like campus blue lights and escort services. Policies are also largely inclusive of a diverse community—92% use gender neutral language and ensure access to resources for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, race or ethnicity. However, while 72% of the schools offer primary prevention programs to address the root causes of sexual violence, only 9% mandate student participation in such programs. Also, a mere 7% of schools in the database include a drug and alcohol amnesty clause for survivors of sexual assault and only 62% allow for anonymous reporting. Because fears of retaliation and feelings of shame and guilt are often barriers to reporting an assault, it is crucial that more schools adopt amnesty clauses and provide confidential and anonymous reporting options for survivors.
Beginning December 1, 2010, V-Day and SAFER are encouraging students to participate in the Campus Accountability Project during their winter break.The Winter Break Challenge asks students to register at www.safercampus.org and submit their school using CAP's easy, step-by-step policy review form. We're also asking students to encourage their friends and fellow activists at other schools to submit to CAP. The database is utilized by student activists looking to make positive change on their campus, and also provides us with a wealth of information on the best and worst practices in sexual assault prevention and response at schools across the country. Only students can submit to CAP, but anyone can access the database by registering for free. You can help kick-start real change on campuses nationwide by sharing this information and posting the Facebook event and Why Policy video on your wall and blog today!
SAFER is a volunteer-run organization that has been training and supporting student activists for a decade. We offer comprehensive programming to support student-led movements for campus sexual assault policy reform. In addition to the CAP policies database, our website houses the Activist Resource Center, an online library of tools for organizers. We also run a national, in-person trainings program to help students kick-start policy reform campaigns and offer ongoing mentoring via the Activist Mentoring Program, (AMP!).
V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler's award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works. In 2010, over 5400 V-Day benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $75 million and educated over 300 million people about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, reopened shelters, and funded over 12,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic Of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. In 2001, V-Day was named one of Worth Magazine's "100 Best Charities" and in 2006 one of Marie Claire Magazine's Top Ten Charities.