The Sexual Assault Victims' Rights Amendment Act of 2013 (SAVRAA) passed the first round of votes in it's favor by DC Council on April 8, a huge victory for the DC Justice for Survivors Campaign (DCJSC), the grassroots organizing group that worked hard for a year to mobilize enough support for this bill. SAVRAA outlines and requires several steps that survivors of sexual assault can expect the Metropolitan Police Department will follow to ensure a process as considerate of survivor's needs as possible, while ensuring prompt processing of statements and rape kits. This is a huge step in the direction of a culture that takes seriously charges of sexual assault and rape, and responds adequately and appropriately. Let's hope this catches on in cities and states where all too often, victims experience a second assault when their confessions are met with shame, blame, disbelief and silence.
FORCE, the feminist activist collective out of Baltimore behind numerous art-based rape awareness initiatives has struck again, this time with a chord steeped in Americana as much as collective organizing. The group is coordinating the creation of enough massive red quilt squares emblazoned with survivor's and supporter's words to assemble the Monument Quilt, hoped to cover the national mall in 2016. Read more here about the amazing women behind FORCE, and behind this project dedicated to giving massive space and voice and solidarity to the untold scores of survivors of rape. From one of the founders of FORCE: “The quilt airs out emotions that are usually confined to private spaces,” said Hannah Brancato, FORCE co-director. “For individuals and communities to heal from the isolating experience of sexual violence, which is so often kept hidden, we have to create a space where people can express emotions openly.”
Bravo to FORCE for creating a living and breathing challenge to the silence pushed upon so many survivors!
This is where we'll share positive stories about forward progress in changing rape culture.