Time to Focus on the Prevention of Sexual Assault and Harassment

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The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) applauds the entertainment industry leadership for its contribution to the fight to end sexual violence with the Time’s Up initiative. The January 1, 2018 announcement of the Time’s Up initiative is a multifaceted approach that includes legal aid, information and education, and a pledge to work in solidarity towards women’s empowerment and the prevention of future harassment and sexual violence. We honor their commitment to justice and equity for survivors, and the movement to end sexual violence which countless help-networks across the globe have worked tirelessly to create for decades.

As the professional organization providing leadership for rape crisis center programs in California and advocating for systemic change in the state and throughout the nation, CALCASA has been a champion in the 50-year-old movement to fight sexual violence. CALCASA has worked to strengthen support efforts for survivors and provide resources for the programs and advocates that do the groundwork to fight violence every day in their communities. Since our inception, CALCASA has supported the legal rights of survivors, advocated for better anti-sexual assault legislation, and provided training and resources to the advocates that work to improve the quality of life of survivors and our communities. Unquestionably, our recent national vocal outcry and public outrage over workplace and street sexual harassment and assault was made possible because of this movement’s work to remove stigma, silence, and shame that blamed victims for sexual harassment and assault and allowed those who commit harm to escape accountability. With its contribution, the Time’s Up initiative is welcome to stand in solidarity with this work, contributing much need resources and media visibility to a destructive but preventable social ill.

CALCASA acknowledges that resources for survivors including legal funds are critical, and the Time’s Up $13 million commitment is a welcome contribution. However, we recognize prevention as the best investment in ending sexual violence and harassment. Prevention efforts work to change the conditions and culture that allow sexual harassment and violence to occur and become normalized within our culture. We call on leaders and champions of ending sexual harassment and sexual violence across all industries and sectors – from entertainment to agribusiness to legislatures – to expand their focus to include and prioritize prevention. Time is certainly up for sexual violence, and it is time to move forward with prevention.

 

 

Sandra Henriquez

Sandra Henriquez is CALCASA’s Chief Executive Officer. She has more than two decades of experience working in social services, of which 16 years were in non-profit management. She had demonstrated profound leadership as the former Associate Director for Intervention Programs at the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (now Peace Over Violence). She also served on CALCASA’s board of directors for more than a decade. Her participation on the board was essential to the Coalition’s reorganization, hiring of staff, and the development in policies and procedures.

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