This year’s summit includes more workshops and expanded focus to include topics specific to men, LGBTQ survivors, high school and middle school aged students, and service providers.
BOSTON- At-Large Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley is once again partnering with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), Boston Police Department (BPD), Casa Myrna, and Girls’ LEAP, as well as new partners Fenway Health Violence Recovery Program, Hollaback! Boston, Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society, My Life My Choice, Boston Public Health Commission’s Start Strong Program to hold the 2ndannual “Raise Your Voice, Day of Empowerment Summit for Survivors of Sexual Violence and our Allies.”
Pressley’s Raise Your Voice Summit will take place on April 26th from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM at Northeastern University, Cabral Center, John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, 40 Leon Street.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a nationally recognized movement to honor survivors of sexual violence through community action. The Raise Your Voice Summit is an opportunity to build supportive survivor/ally networks and learn tangible skills for preventing and intervening in sexually abusive behavior. Sexual violence is an issue that touches every community, every racial/ethnic group, every income bracket, every gender, sexual orientation, education level, and faith, so this year Pressley and partners are offering more interactive workshops and expanding focus to include topics specific to men, LGBTQ survivors, high school and middle school aged students, and service providers.
“A community dialogue and collective commitment by survivors, allies and neighbors to change our culture, strengthen policies, improve prevention, intervention and trauma support services is the only way we’ll make meaningful headway, but it all begins with a willingness to have an uncomfortable conversation,” Pressley said. I’ve never known statistics to move the needle, but I know stories can and do. I commend my fellow survivors for sharing theirs and know on April 26th we’ll all leave that space changed, with a renewed commitment to raise our voice to end sexual violence.”
This event is free and open to the public (pre-registration is required). There are workshops for girls, boys, men, women and LGBTQ residents ages 8 and up. Participants will be able to choose from one of nine workshops to attend:
- BARCC “Survivor Speakers”
- BPD “Personal Safety and Rape Aggression Defense System Teaser”
- Casa Myrna “Domestic Violence Overview”
- Fenway Health Violence Recovery Program “Hook-up Culture: Defining Boundaries and Increasing Safety”
- Girls’ LEAP “Self-Defense Mother-Daughter (ages 8-18) Workshop”
- Hollaback! Boston ‘Hollaback! 101’ a training on street harassment
- Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society “MVPS’s: Male Bystanders Changing the Culture of Violence”
- My Life My Choice at JRI “Understanding Commercial Sexual Exploitation”
- Start Strong, a program of Boston Public Health Commission “The Halls: Challenging Unhealthy Masculinity”
Last fall, following a number of high-profile and in some cases multiple sexual assaults in several neighborhoods of Boston, several residents and organizations called Pressley and asked for resources and how they could help stem the tide of sexual violence. Raise Your Voice was the outcome. The conversation must continue because for every case that receives media attention there are thousands more in which survivors remain unseen and unheard by the broader community. In 2013, BARCC advocates met 392 survivors, in Boston hospitals, who had been recently assaulted. The 2011 Boston Youth Risk Behavior Survey (most recent available) found that 12.6% of Boston high school students report being physically forced to have sexual intercourse (15.8% of girls and 9.2% of boys).
WHO: Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
Boston Police Department
Fenway Health Violence Recovery Program
Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society
My Life My Choice at JRI
Start Strong, a program of Boston Public Health Commission
WHAT: 2nd Annual Raise Your Voice Day of Empowerment Summit for Survivors and Allies, including nine different workshops
WHEN: April 26th, 9 AM – 12:30 PM
9 AM Registration and light refreshments
9:30 AM Welcome and Group Warm-up
10 AM ~ 12 PM Choose 1 Workshop to attend (closed to press)
12:15 PM Closing and Call to Action
WHERE: Northeastern University, Cabral Center, John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, 40 Leon Street.