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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Welcome to
Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2021!

 

The Office of Equity is pleased to kick off SAAM with an opening message from Associate Vice President for Equity, TiShaunda McPherson.  

 

 


 

SAAM Spotlight 2021

Throughout the month of April, the Office of Equity will spotlight students, faculty and staff across the Northwestern community, as well as non-profit organizations in the Chicagoland area, who are dedicated to cultivating communities free of harm. We were interested in hearing from these partners about their visions for harm-free communities. We hope you enjoy!

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Resilience

Q:  Blurb or brief description of the organization you work for, or the team within the organization
A: Education and Training department at Resilience works towards our mission to improve the treatment of sexual assault survivors and to effect positive change in policies and public attitudes towards sexual assault by providing education to students in K-12 schools on consent, healthy relationships, bodily autonomy and bystander intervention. Further, our training institute offers education on those topics and more to professionals, parents and members of our community so they can be better equipped to provide trauma-informed support to survivors.
Q:  How is your work related to sexual violence prevention?
A: In addition to our prevention education work, Resilience also offers legal and medical advocacy and trauma therapy. All of our work is rooted in centering survivors to end sexual violence and prevent further harm.
Q:  In your opinion, what would a radically vulnerable future look like?
A: A radically vulnerable future looks like Creating a community and culture in which survivors aren’t punished and ostracized when they share their experiences of harm and healing. We currently live in such a punitive culture both towards the person who caused harm and those who have experienced harm. A radically vulnerable future would instead create space for folks to share, heal, and hold their accusers accountable in the way they and the community feels would stop future harm from happening.
Q:  What challenges do you see in getting to that radically vulnerable future? What challenges do you encounter in your day-to-day work?
A: The systems created to protect survivors (Criminal Legal System, Prisons, etc.) often lead to more harm or at the least don’t feel accessible for them. That paired with a culture that minimizes violence, disbelieves and blames survivors and rarely actually holds abusers to account results in an systemic and cultural challenge to our radical idea of a future without violence. Plus, for so long the cultural dialogue about sexual assault has been so focused on the individuals involved, it loses site of these systemic issues which allows them to continue moving along, unchanged.
Q: How do you care for yourself as you work towards that future?
A: Across our team, we are very invested in the mind-body connection. Our educators are big believers in yoga, meditation, breath work and exercise to maintain that connection. Further, we regularly communicate our boundaries and capacities with one another to ensure we’re supporting each other in the work.
Q: What gives you hope in this work?
A: First, the resilience of the survivors with whom we work followed closely by the investment from our community and volunteers. It’s easy to get discouraged when trying to do this work alone, but in community, it feels much more sustainable and fulfilling.

 

 

Weekly infographic:

 

What happens when I make a report?
 
Check back each week for a new graphic designed to highlight important aspects of the Office of Equity’s work. Graphics by Mychael Torres and Hope Thompson.