make a statement - denim day

Make a Fashion Statement – Tomorrow is Denim Day

In Italy in 1992, an 18-year-old girl was forcefully raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor. After she pressed charges, he was convicted and then appealed the sentence. The case made its way to the Italian Supreme Court where, within a few days, it was overturned and dismissed, and the perpetrator was released.

According to the judge, “…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.”

Enraged women in the Parliament began to protest by wearing jeans to work and this statement of action spread to the US, beginning in California. Now, every year since 1999, Peace Over Violence has been organizing Denim Day in the US, asking people to wear jeans as a visible statement of protest against sexual assault and the misconceptions that often accompany it.

Victim blaming unfortunately still happens today. We hear it in the news, in undercurrents of conversations, on Twitter – everywhere. In the wake of the recent case of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond convicted of raping their 16-year-old classmate in Steubenville, Ohio, countless reactions focused on the young girl and what she was wearing (among other things – how much she had been drinking, whether or not she had been friendly with the perpetrators) instead of on the actions of the two boys.

Even a media headline like “How drunk was too drunk to consent?” seems to frame a news story about sexual assault in a victim-blaming way, focusing on the actions of the victims instead of the actions of the perpetrators.

Wearing tight jeans (or baggy jeans, or no jeans, or anything) never implies consent.

Tomorrow, pledge to wear jeans on Denim Day and make a statement with your fashion statement. Commit to educating yourself and others about sexual violence. Talk to someone you know about what victim blaming is. Follow the hashtag #DenimDay on Twitter to see what events are taking place around the country.

crime victims rights

It’s National Crime Victim’s Rights Week

“A right is not what someone gives you; it’s what no one can take from you.” — Ramsey Clark


Each year 18.7 million Americans are directly harmed by crime — and this statistic doesn’t include the countless number of family, friends and co-workers who are also impacted by these tragedies.

Yesterday marked the beginning of National Crime Victim’s Rights Week (April 21-27). Since 1981, the Office for Victims of Crime has dedicated this week to promoting victims’ rights and honoring both victims and those who advocate on their behalf. This year’s theme is “New Challenges. New Solutions” which focuses on OVC’s initiative, “Transforming Victim Services.”

As a national organization committed to ending domestic violence, this is a crucial week for us to reflect upon and think about victims of these and other crimes. Each day we advocate for victim’s rights, and there has been great progress made. It was only last month that we saw the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, with new provisions extending the protection of Native American women and members of the LGBT community.

Still, it only takes a quick look around us — in the media, at our congressional hearings, in everyday dialogue — to see that challenges remain. According to OVC, about 50% of violent crimes are not reported, and only a fraction of victims receive the help they need. Domestic violence remains one of the most underreported crimes, for various reasons. Every day we speak to victims who are in fear of being deported, losing custody of their children, becoming financially unstable, or not being believed. Victims’ rights are not all equal, and often go unenforced or ignored.

As demonstrated through this national week of recognition each year, conversation and collaboration is necessary for further change.

Domestic Violence Is a Crime

In 2010, violent crimes by intimate partners totaled 509,230 — 13% of all violent crimes. Of female murder victims in 2010, 38% were killed by a husband or boyfriend. Sixty four percent of female victims experienced violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime.

Learn More

If you or someone you know is a victim of intimate partner violence, call The Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE to confidentially speak with an advocate. We can provide you with info on safety planning and next steps, as well as give you resources for learning more about victim rights.

To get more involved, check out the National Calendar of Crime Victim Assistance-Related Events to see if there is anything you can attend in your area, or organize your own event. For more information about victims of assault, domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, sexual assault and other crimes, download the Help Series brochures.

Learn more about the history of victim’s rights (Section 5).

Follow the hashtag #NCVRW2013 on Twitter throughout the week to learn more.

saam day of action

#SAAM Around the Country

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and every day we read more and more about the events and activities going on all throughout the country. It’s empowering to see so many people getting involved to speak out against domestic violence – and hopefully some of these events will inspire you to share your voice as well.


  • The Clothesline Project, an effort supported by Verizon Wireless, is happening in towns all across the country. Those affected by violence decorate a t-shirt with personal stories and messages, and then these are all hung on a clothesline for others to view. Many towns and organizations are taking part, including Voices Against Violence at Plymouth State University, Shippensburg University and Rhode Island College.
  • The Orange County Rape Crisis Center in North Carolina is painting the town teal with events ranging from a “Gratitude Gala” to celebrate volunteers and supporters, to a “Healing Trauma With Yoga” workshop.
  • Colorado State University’s Women and Gender Advocacy Center is hosting events and talks all through the month, such as the “But I’m a Nice Guy!” workshop to explore ways men can be agents of change and confront sexual violence.
  • Minnesota State Mankato Women’s Center is hosting various events in April, including a trivia night to test people’s knowledge related to women’s history and women’s accomplishments.
  • At Palo Alto High School a student-run publication called Verde Magazine dedicated their entire April issue to rape awareness, including interviews with two students about their own experiences with sexual assault.
  • In Salt Lake City and countless other places in the country, people joined together for Slut Walks to speak out against sexual violence and victim blaming (i.e. the idea that victims invited an attack because of what they were wearing).
  • One Penn State student bravely shared her personal story in order to “put a name and a face next to those statistics and the horrors that Sexual Assault Awareness Month is attempting to fight.”
  • Hampshire College hosted a program about sexual assault in the military, with author Helen Benedict.
  • Towns like Fort Morgan, CO, have organized Take Back The Night events, which are gatherings/walks where victims and advocates join together to “take back their voices” by sharing stories and speaking out against sexual violence.
  • The Oklahoma City Barons hockey team is donating a portion of its April ticket sales to sexual assault prevention programs, and is wearing teal ribbons on their helmets to promote awareness.

These are just a few of the amazing events that are taking place during April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We’d love to hear what you or your community is doing – let us know in the comment section.

sexual violence media

Sexual Violence in the Media: #TweetAboutIt

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center has organized weekly #TweetAboutIt Tuesdays focused on various topics related to sexual assault. Today we joined in on the conversation hosted by reporter Tara Murtha and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape to discuss sexual violence in the media.

What’s a Twitter Chat?
A TwitChat is a conversation that takes place on Twitter, often hosted by an organization or a group with a common interest, to discuss a topic (like sexual violence in the media). There’s generally a hashtag (#) involved, so that anyone can click the hashtag, see what others are saying and follow along. Anyone can join in – simply start tweeting using the hashtag, and you’re part of the conversation. Take part in another SAAM TwitChat organized by NSVRC next Tuesday at 2PM by using the hashtag #TweetAboutIt.

http://storify.com/NDVH/sexual-violence-in-the-media-tweetaboutit

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (#SAAM)

Every two minutes, someone in this country is sexually assaulted. On average there are 207,754 victims of rape and sexual assault each year.

This April, join us in acknowledging and promoting Sexual Assault Awareness Month. All across the country, people are taking a stand and promoting the prevention of sexual violence through educational speaker series, campaigns, online days of action and other events.

One of the most common misconceptions about sexual violence is that it involves a stranger. In reality, among female rape victims for example, 51.1% of perpetrators are reported to be intimate partners and 40.8% are acquaintances.

In a relationship that may be displaying signs of abuse, it’s not unlikely that sexual abuse or sexual coercion may be present. Like physical violence, sexual violence helps a batterer gain a sense of power and control. Sexual assault is any nonconsensual sexual act, physical or verbal, that goes against the victim’s will. It almost always involves a use of threat or force.

Coercion can take on many different forms. EX: Making a partner feel obligated to have sex (“Sex is the way you prove your love for me”) or reproductive coercion (tampering with or withholding birth control; pressuring you to become pregnant).

Have you or someone you know experienced any of the signs mentioned above? Call The Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE to speak confidentially with an advocate. We can help you learn more about healthy relationships, consent, and types of coercion. We can safety plan with you at any stage, whether you’re questioning something going on, experiencing ongoing abuse, or otherwise.

You can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center at 1-877-739-3895, or use RAINN’s Online Hotline.


Educate Your Community

Advocate at your local school for further education about healthy relationships. Speak at a board meeting and hold an informational meeting with parents, teachers and others interested in the issue.

Discuss consent – with your children, with your family, with your partner. The absence of a “No” never equals a “Yes.”

Speak Out Against Sexual Violence

Make your voice heard. Join #SAAM Tweet Ups every Tuesday of the month for different discussions about child sexual abuse prevention and how adults can promote healthy development.

Donate your social media accounts to the cause. Visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for downloadable logos, posters and images for Twitter and Facebook, education tools and other resources.

Volunteer at your local rape crisis center.

Read More

AAUW: Sexual Harassment

RAINN: Get Information

1 in 6: Info for Men

SAFER: Info about Campus Sexual Assault

Circle of 6 App: Healthy Relationships Toolkit

Men Can Stop Rape: Get Information

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

#NOMOREDay Discussion: Speaking Up Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

Wednesday March 13th marked the first ever “NO MORE Day” and the launch of the first universal symbol to end domestic violence and sexual assault. At 3PM EST, The Hotline joined a Twitter Chat hosted by NO MORE, The Joyful Heart Foundation, and Law & Order SVU’s Mariska Hargitay. The chat focused on the significance of the symbol and how it can be used, as well as methods of bystander intervention and methods of spreading awareness.

If you were involved in the Twit Chat, we’d love to hear your feedback. If not, we hope you join us next time.

On Wednesday March 13th, advocates and supporters everywhere joined together to unite their voices for the first ever No More Day. The 3PM EST TwitChat hosted by @NOMOREorg focused on the launch of the first universal symbol to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

http://storify.com/NDVH/nomoreday

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Today is NO MORE Day

Today is the very first NO MORE Day of Action. Everyone is familiar with symbols for change and hope such as the pink breast cancer ribbon and the red AIDS ribbon. Today, in communities all over the country, advocates and supporters will unite in launching the first universal symbol to end domestic violence and sexual assault. The symbol has been in the making since 2009.

NO MORE seeks to remove the shame and stigma surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault. It aims to empower bystanders to speak up and get involved. Nearly every organization working to combat domestic violence and sexual assault in the U.S. is uniting under this one symbol.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline supports NO MORE as a symbol of dedication to spreading awareness about domestic violence. This is a topic that often remains hidden in our society. With your help, we can bring the realities of domestic violence into the light and make a real change.

What will be taking place today nationwide?

  • A Congressional Briefing with Twilight’s Ashley Greene, highlighting survey results about the role of bystanders in responding to teen dating violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
  • Law and Order SVU’s Mariska Hargitay headlines the National press Club Newsmakers Luncheon to speak about domestic violence and assault.
  • The Washington Wizards recognize NO MORE in their game against Milwaukee Bucks at the Verizon Center and information is distributed to fans.
  • Invisible War Screenings (open to the public) – Find one near you

How can you get involved?

  • Join our Twitter chat at 3:00 PM EST with @NOMOREorg and @TheJHF (The Joyful Heart Foundation). Use the hashtags #NOMORE and #NOMOREDay
  • Instagram: NOMOREorg with the hashtags #NOMOREDay and #NOMORE
  • KNOW MORE. Go to www.nomore.org and learn the signs of domestic violence and sexual assault. Get the facts and know how to intervene safely. Request the NO MORE Toolkit.
  • Say NO MORE. Break the silence. Speak out and seek help when you see this problem in your family, your community, your workplace or school.
  • Share NO MORE. Share the NO MORE symbol with everyone you know. Facebook it. Tweet it. Pin it. Instagram it. Email it. Wear it. Help to increase awareness about the extent of domestic violence and sexual assault. Click here to shop NO MORE.
  • Ensure NO MORE. Get involved. Volunteer in your community, or donate to a local, state or national domestic violence or sexual assault organization. Visit nomore.org to find out how.
National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

On January 31st, just over a week after he had been officially inducted into office for a second term, President Barack Obama made a direct address, endorsing February as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

In his official address, Obama declared: “This month, we stand with those who have known the pain and isolation of an abusive relationship, and we recommit to ending the cycle of violence that affects too many of our sons and daughters.”

President Obama and his administration continue to make preventing abuse a priority, through initiatives such as Vice President Joe Biden’s 1 is 2 many, committing to reduce violence against young women.

According to the organization Loveisrespect, one in three teens in the US is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a partner. While teen dating violence can happen to anyone, the majority of the violence affects young women. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence- this is almost triple the national average.

As encouraged by President Obama, let February be a month for taking a stand against dating violence in whatever way you can. Talk to teachers at your local high school, bring up dating violence at the next school board meeting, and have a conversation with the teens in your life about healthy relationships. A great resource to share with them is the website loveisrespect, which has safety planning tips, relevant blog posts and more.

Want to know how to help a teen loved one experiencing abuse? Call our advocates today at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233). Also, stay tuned into our blog for upcoming posts with resources and ways to empower your teen if they are experiencing dating violence.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

The History of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). During this time advocates work to raise awareness about sexual violence and educate communities around the nation about how to prevent sexual assault.

This year’s campaign, It’s Time to Talk About It, focuses on healthy sexuality and encourages people to discuss how we can respect one another in order to prevent sexual violence. It’s Time To Talk About It will provide tools and resources to promote positive expressions of sexuality and healthy behaviors.

SAAM has been a nationally recognized event since the early 2000s, but it was many years in the making.

In the late 1970s women began working to “Take Back the Night” in response to the violence that was being experienced while walking through city streets after sundown. The initial female-only protests were meant to share information about sexual assault with the communities they took place in. By the 1980s these sexual assault awareness activities had expanded to include the issue of violence against women. It wasn’t long before these activities expanded even more and encompassed violence against men, and males began participating to raise awareness.

In the late 1980s, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault began developing interest in selecting a designated time period to promote awareness. An informal poll of sexual assault coalition agencies revealed that April would be a suitable month, and the national Sexual Assault Awareness Week was established.

It wasn’t until the late 1990s that this week was expanded to an entire month. In April of 2001, SAAM as we know it was celebrated for the first time.

Each year the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) works to coordinate SAAM activities nationwide. The organization provides resources to advocates nationwide to help them plan and facilitate their programs during the month.

Over the last few years, the NSVRC has placed increasing emphasis on the prevention of sexual violence. As a result, the SAAM campaigns have been increasingly geared toward educating young people.

The goal of this month is to build safe, healthy and respectful relationships.

For more information or to find out how you can get involved, please visit the SAAM/NSVRC website.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

International Women’s Friendship Month Photo Contest

September is International Women’s Friendship Month. Kappa Delta Sorority created this celebration 12 years ago to encourage women everywhere to celebrate the special bonds on friendship. Kappa Delta is very involved in ending and preventing domestic violence. To address the increasing numbers of young adults experiencing dating abuse, Kappa Delta launched a campaign called “Friends Say the Tough Stuff…So Say It.” This campaign encourages friends to offer support and intervention when they believe a friend may be experiencing an unhealthy relationship.

Friendship is a valuable resource, especially to domestic violence victim. “[Friends] are our loudest cheerleaders and our most compassionate confidantes,” says a representative for Kappa Delta. Having healthy friendships is just as important as having healthy relationships.

To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Friendship Month, Kappa Delta Sorority’s Confidence Coalition is holding a friendship photo contest. The winner and her friend will receive a friends’ getaway, which includes a complimentary weekend stay at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa in Tucson, Ariz., a spa package and a breakfast for two provided by the JW Marriett Starr Pass Resort, plus airfare for two to Tucson from anywhere in the continental U.S. provided by A&I Travel.

We invite you to enter the contest or encourage your friends, mom, sister, wife, etc. to enter. Participants must submit a high resolution friendship photo with three to five sentences about how her friend(s) gives her confidence. Click here to enter the contest and here for more information. Contestants must be 18 or older. Entries must be received no later than September 30, 2011.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.

January is National Stalking Awareness Month and this dangerous and unpredictable crime is often seen in domestic violence situations. Three in four victims are stalked by someone they know and more than 3.4 million adults are stalked each year in the United States.

The theme for the 8th annual observation of this awareness month is “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.” which encourages people to learn what constitutes as stalking, recognize it when it happens, and put an end to it. Stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Those who are victims of stalking sometimes suffer in silence. They have anxiety, social dysfunction and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population. Stalking also affects their ability to go to school or work. Stalkers often use technology to track their victims. They install spyware on computers and use global positioning systems on cell phones.

This January, learn more about stalking and how you can help spread awareness of this crime in your community. For more information, please visit the Stalking Resource Center.

Parents, if you need help talking to your teen about stalking or you worry that they are currently being stalked, please direct them to a post by loveisrespect on the issue.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

It’s Time to Talk About Domestic Violence

For the seventh straight year, Liz Claiborne Inc. is sponsoring It’s Time to Talk Day on December 8, 2010, a day dedicated to ensuring that Americans speak up about a subject that most people simply prefer not to discuss — domestic violence.  Representatives of The Hotline and loveisrespect will join other advocates on “Radio Row” at the Liz Claiborne headquarters in New York City to talk about domestic violence.

This year’s event will begin with a screening of Telling Amy’s Story, a riveting documentary which follows the timeline of a domestic violence homicide that occurred on November 8, 2001.  NBC Today Show co-host, Meredith Vieira, will emcee the screening.  The documentary is narrated by actress and member of The Hotline’s 15th Anniversary Honorary Committee, Mariska Hargitay.

To take part in It’s Time to Talk Day in your community, please consider doing the following:

  • Ask medical offices, hospitals, city offices if you can hang posters which include The Hotline number as a resource
  • Encourage local businesses to hang purple ribbons in their place of business
  • Encourage your local mayor and city council to recognize the day as It’s Time to Talk Day
  • Tweet with the #ITTTD hashtag, post information about It’s Time to Talk Day on Facebook and email your friends with empowering information about domestic violence. Help them know the signs of abuse and that help is available by calling The Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Talk to your friends, co-workers and family about healthy relationships and get the conversation started

For more information on It’s Time to Talk Day, visit Love Is Not Abuse.