Earlier this week 160 people gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, for the Georgia Symposium on Sexual Violence. This statewide gathering of people from rape crisis centers, law enforcement, health care, colleges and more provided a great opportunity to strengthen efforts in Georgia to prevent sexual violence.
Speakers at this event included Alan Berkowitz on preventing sexual violence on campuses, Dorothy Edwards of Green Dot speaking about bystander intervention, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape‘s Kristen Houser sharing lessons learned from the Sandusky case.
Yesterday I gave a presenting on the movement to prevention sexual violence where I discussed many examples of why a movement is essential for changing including
- recently released study showing the feminist movement is crucial to changing violence against women policy
- SPARK Summit’s protest of Legos targeted for girls
- Efforts to stop street harassment including Hollaback, International Anti-Street Harassment Week and the award winning video of men interrupting street harassment
- One Billion Rising from Eve Ensler and V-day
I ended the session with these works of hope from Howard Zinn:
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” (Howard Zinn, 2004, You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train, Beacon Press, p.208)
Click here for notes from my plenary presentation and the workshop I led on community organizing.