Oct 31, 2013
CONTACT Lauren Brisbo

National Violence Prevention Organization Engages Student Leaders to Spark Dialogue About Sexual Assault on Campus

Futures Without Violence hosts “Speak Up to Take Rape Culture Down,” a day-long program at Harvard University

BOSTON (October 31, 2013) “Speak Up to Take Rape Culture Down”, a one-day Summit at Harvard University on Saturday, November 2, 2013, will provide a forum for student leaders, administrators and anti-violence advocates in the Boston area to share strategies that will raise visibility and demand action to prevent rape and sexual assault on college campuses, and revise campus policies and procedures addressing sexual violence.

Statistics from the Bureau of Justice show that young women ages 20-24 are at highest risk for dating violence and approximately 80% of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25.

The unique event, to be hosted by national nonprofit Futures Without Violence with generous support from the Avon Foundation for Women, will feature several of the Boston-area students and alumnae who have emerged as national leaders in the movement to demand zero tolerance for sexual assault, stalking and harassment on campus. Angela Epifano, a former Amherst student and rape survivor whose first-person story in the college newspaper gained worldwide attention, joins student leaders Dana Bolger and Alexandra Brodsky, co-founders of Know Your IX, and Jackie Cruz from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, in a panel discussion called “Courageous Conversations.”

Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education for the state of Massachusetts, will welcome participants, and author/activist Jaclyn Friedman will present a keynote called “Sane, Safe and Strong.” Friedman is a founder and the Executive Director of Women, Action & the Media, where she recently led the successful #FBrape campaign that forced Facebook’s hate-speech policy to prohibit gender-based violence.

“The statistics are staggering; one in five women will be victims of sexual assault during their college years,” said Esta Soler, Founder and President of Futures Without Violence. “The Summit provides a venue for people to share their stories, and learn about successful strategies to dramatically improve campus policies, reporting procedures, counseling, and other factors that can help reverse the rape culture throughout the country.”

“By convening student leaders, survivors, and campus administrators with this unique summit, our goal is to create a movement to encourage colleges and universities to identify solutions combating sexual violence on their campuses, so that we can break this epidemic,” said Carol Kurzig, President of Avon Foundation for Women. “We’re pleased to support an innovative program that gives voice to students who want to improve policies and behaviors in order to dramatically reduce rape and sexual violence on campuses across the country.”

On-site presentations and workshops will feature some of the nation’s best known organizations and leaders working to end sexual assault and rape culture, including:

  • Diane Rosenfeld, Director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School (a co-sponsor of the event), who will discuss “Our Civil Rights,” an opportunity to help student leaders understand the policies and guidelines that have been created to empower survivors, including Title IX, the Clery Act and the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act.
  • Debjani Roy, Hollaback!, who will address “Leveraging Technology to End Public Sexual Harrassment and Sexual Assault.”
  • Filmmaker Nancy Schwarzman, who will lead a session called “Fight Rape with Mobile, Media and More: Learn from the Line Campaign and Circle of 6 Award-winning App.”
  • Emily Greytak, from SAFER, who will discuss “Hands on Policy Analysis: Mapping Your School’s Policy.”

"Beyond Title IX: Guidelines for Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence in Higher Education,” developed in partnership by Futures Without Violence and the Avon Foundation for Women, address this epidemic of violence and motivate colleges and universities to form an integrated and consistent approach to the issue of gender-based violence for women at particular risk of sexual violence, intimate partner violence and stalking.

To learn more about Futures Without Violence’s work to prevent sexual assault on campus, click here. To see a full list of speakers at the “Speak Up to Take Rape Culture Down” Summit, visit:

Futures Without Violence 
For more than 30 years, Futures Without Violence has led the way and set the pace for innovative educational programs, public action campaigns, policy development and leadership training designed to end violence against women, children and families around the world. Providing leadership from offices in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Boston, Futures Without Violence invests in the power of those affected by violence and brings individuals and communities together to create positive solutions. Instrumental in developing the landmark Violence Against Women Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1994, Futures Without Violence has established a Global Center for Leadership and Action that will engage today’s diverse national and global leaders, stand with survivors, and continue working to break the silence around gender-based violence.

Avon Foundation for Women 
The Avon Foundation for Women, the world’s largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on issues that matter most to women, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women. Through 2013, Avon global philanthropy, led by the Avon Foundation, has donated more than $956 million in more than 50 countries for causes most important to women. Today, Avon philanthropy focuses on funding breast cancer research and access to care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, and efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Visit for more information.

Futures Without Violence President and Founder Esta Soler Addressing Group

Speak Up to Take Rape Culture Down Attendees

Jaclyn Friedman Leading Panel

Co-Founder of Circle of 6 Nancy Schwartzman and Student Leader from Brandeis