WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (FORCE) – Rape survivor advocacy and art group Force: Upsetting Rape Culture called Tuesday for swift congressional approval of legislation to crack down on campus rape, saying urgent action is needed to hold U.S. colleges accountable for an epidemic of sexual violence on their campuses.
In a statement issued on the eve of a 13-city Force national rape awareness tour, Rebecca Nagle, co-director of the group, said: “Not another semester should go by in the United States without serious action to provide stronger protections against rape and other types of sexual violence that have sadly become a regular feature of college life in America today.”
Force said the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA), a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on July 30 to crack down on campus rape, provided the incentives needed for colleges to strengthen preventative action, hold perpetrators accountable and offer effective support to survivors.
“Universities must treat sexual assault like the human rights problem that it is, not like a PR problem,” Nagle said. “This is as much about new laws as it is about new attitudes. The place for our colleges to start is on their own campus grounds and the CASA bill will encourage them to make that start now.”
Nagle, Force co-director Hannah Brancato and other survivors will embark on a national tour on August 9 that includes a stop at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
The tour, in partnership with eight campus advocacy groups around the country and more than 60 organizations working to better support survivors of sexual assault, is a call for broad change in American attitudes about rape, as well as policy changes like the CASA campus rape bill.
It will include display at public venues of The Monument Quilt, a textile patchwork-in-progress of personal stories from survivors of rape and sexual abuse, as well as speeches by activists and engagement with local political leaders and citizens.
“The Monument Quilt will offer a space for all voices to be heard, for survivor’s to be respected as opposed to questioned when they come forward,” said Wesleyan campus activist Natalie Ancona.
The Monument Quilt has already been displayed outside the U.S. Congress and Force is working toward a permanent monument to survivors of sexual assault in Washington D.C.
For more information about the upcoming national tour, please visit www.upsettingrapeculture.com