hand holding phone with Uber appUber announced major changes today in response to the global epidemic of sexual violence. According to Uber communications, the ride-sharing industry leader will no longer require Uber riders, drivers or employees to arbitrate their individual claims of sexual assault or harassment; will give survivors of sexual assault and harassment the option to reach a settlement with Uber without a confidentiality requirement; and commit to publishing a safety transparency report that will include data on sexual assaults and other safety incidents that occur on the Uber platform in the US. Just hours after the announcement, USA Today reported that Lyft released a statement “…saying that it also would both remove the confidentiality requirement for sexual assault victims and end mandatory arbitration requirements to those individuals.”

These changes in arbitration, confidentiality, and transparency provide greater protections for ride-sharers and avenues for recourse. Uber’s announcement comes months after CALCASA’s work with Uber and through our national partnership Raliance.  CALCASA works with influencers for change and seeks strategic partnerships including those where there are existing issues, where partners demonstrate a commitment to supporting survivors, and action to prevent sexual violence, harassment and abuse. Actions such as those announced today signal culture change in the fight to end sexual violence. We look forward to continued partnerships with industries like Uber that have committed to ending sexual violence.

Founded in 2015,  Raliance is a national partnership committed to ending sexual violence in one generation. What most people don’t know is that Anna Isaacson, NFL’s Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility,  played a key role in forming Raliance. A recent article in Ozy She Was Handpicked by the NFL Commish to Help the League Clean Up Its Act revealed how Anna has played such an important role in advancing sexual violence prevention in sport.

In 2015, in response to criticism and major scandals facing the industry, the National Football League stepped up and led their efforts with prevention.  A big part of this commitment to prevent sexual violence was the NFL supporting three national organizations to form Raliance. We honor the leadership of Anna Isaacson and the NFL in their capacity of making the prevention of sexual and domestic violence possible within sport. Anna Isaacson has met responses and criticisms of the NFL with action and a determination to shift attitudes about sport. We recognize the reach and influence of the NFL and see them as having an important place in creating culture change. With Anna’s support, Raliance is helping sport to situate itself as a part of the solution in the prevention of gender-based violence.

Anna Isaacson and the NFL have used sport as a platform to shift attitudes and make a lasting change to end sexual and domestic violence. Raliance’s Sport + Prevention Center is a prime example of how their guidance has helped reframe the way sport intersects with gender-based violence. This new platform provides resources on sexual violence prevention specific to sport, and a database of prevention strategies being implemented in and through the sport pipeline.

Visit Raliance.org to find out more.

 

On April 25, 2018 CALCASA hosted Denim Day at the California State Capitol South Steps. We started off the rally together with the voices of the SEIU United Service Workers West, a group of promotoras, leaders, and survivors of sexual violence. This group of women are leading a national movement to to prevent harassment, assault and all forms of sexual violence in their industry.

We heard from Veronica Lagunas, a janitorial worker advocating for change and the prevention of sexual violence through peer leadership. She shared strong words of empowerment to the crowd, saying “Our ability to say no is not a privilege for a few – it is s a right for all women in this country.”

Two years ago (2016) SEIU United Services Workers West, embarked on a hunger strike to demand an end to rape on the night shift. Governor Brown signed their bill into law,  AB1978, which increased protections against sexual violence in the janitorial industry, making everyone safer at work. The SEIU United Services Workers West are continuing their efforts to establish laws that prevent sexual violence.

Their new bill authored by Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, AB 2079, would certify promotoras and compadres, (or janitors) serving as peer educators, to provide direct training on sexual harassment prevention in the workplace to other janitors at worksites throughout the industry.  We heard from Assemblywoman Fletcher about the urgency of passing AB 2079, and spent the day after the rally meeting with legislators to secure their support for these women who know what’s best for themselves. The crowd also heard from Alva Moreno, the California Visionary Voice Award recipient for her work to end sexual violence who proclaimed “¡Ya Basta! Enough is enough!

Senator Holly Mitchell’s words captured the spirit of Denim Day perfectly, saying “We are at a critical point were women and girls are standing up and declaring enough is enough. We are going to continue to fight.”  We are looking for more than compliance or checked boxes, we are looking for culture change. To end sexual violence, we must change our culture. We must shift what has become normalized and change the attitudes that allow us to believe that sexual harassment, child sexual abuse, rape and any type of sexual violence is normal. We know that violence is preventable and California must invest in preventing it.

California needs to invest in prevention now. That is why CALCASA has joined together with The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence to ask our legislators and governor to commit $50 Million a year to END Sexual and Domestic Violence in California.

Support an investment in prevention, sign our petition for $50 Million for healthy relationships and thriving communities. https://www.change.org/p/jerry-brown-invest-50-million-in-the-state-budget-to-end-sexual-and-domestic-violence-in-california

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) is excited to partner with public officials, college campuses, law enforcement, victim advocates and communities across California to raise awareness. Over the past year, we have witnessed sexual assault receive national attention through the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp. Survivors who once suffered in silence for decades have found the courage to publicly speak out and have been greeted by a society no longer tolerant of rape and abuse. As we enter Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), we have the opportunity to continue to create positive change.

In February, CALCASA released a new report The Costs and Consequences of Sexual Violence in California. The report was commissioned by CALCASA in an effort to create greater comprehension of the physical, emotional, social, and economic impact of rape and sexual assault upon California taxpayers. For some, the idea of discussing the economic impact of sexual harassment and violence appears unseemly. While sexual harassment and assault are very personal, in order to understand their impact, we need to look at them in the aggregate and in their environments. Families, friends, partners neighbors, and co-workers know first hand the time and resources necessary to recover from sexual violence. But never before has there been a comprehensive, quantitative analysis of how much this utterly preventable crime costs the state. In collectivizing rapes and other acts of sexual violence, we can see their broader impact.

At a minimum, the report reveals how ALL Californians have an investment in eliminating sexual violence. This year CALCASA’s focus for Sexual Assault Awareness Month brings out key components of our report in order to create greater comprehension of the physical, emotional, social, and economic impact of rape and sexual assault. We believe, and the research demonstrates, that building thriving communities and supporting healthy relationships can prevail over sexual violence and we can do this by investing in prevention.

We need to focus on prevention in response to the impacts of sexual violence in our communities. For Sexual Assault Awareness Month, CALCASA developed resources to share the consequences of rape and sexual assault, enhance the visibility of our efforts to end sexual violence, and the need to move forward with prevention. Focusing on prevention can help strengthen and grow the support for survivors and our communities.

CALCASA is honored to support the 84 rape crisis center and rape prevention programs that serve all of California, provide survivors with a place to turn in their time of need, and take action to prevent sexual violence. The time for survivors is now, to support and elevate their voices, and the time for prevention is now.

What will you do for Sexual Assault Awareness Month? Join CALCASA’s effort with the Partnership for $50 Million to end sexual and domestic violence here.

If you are a victim/survivor of sexual violence, help is available. Victims can call the free and confidential National Sexual Assault Helpline 1-800-656-4673 or find their local agency at http://www.calcasa.org/agencies/

Women from the Ya Basta! Coalition, a statewide group of janitorial workers and advocates, march in support of legislation passed in 2016 that increases protections against sexual violence for California’s janitors.

We’ve heard the individual stories, tagged #MeToo and #TimesUp on social media.

But what about the collective cost of sexual assault?

Research we published last month shows that the annual cost of sexual violence in California is $140 billion.

Statewide, every prevented rape of an adult could save up to $163,800 and every prevented rape or sexual assault of a child could save up to $227,700.

In 2012 an estimated 948,000 California residents were sexually assaulted.

The report makes our charge clear: Rape is costly. Physically, emotionally and economically, the toll on victims is high. We need to invest in prevention in order to reduce personal and economic costs to the state.

For some, the idea of discussing the economic impact of sexual harassment and violence appears unseemly. While sexual harassment and assault are very personal, in order to understand their impact, we need to look at them in the aggregate and in their environments.

 

Read more from CALCASA’s CEO Sandra Henriquez in the California Health Report Op-Ed here

The Cost and Consequences of Sexual Violence in California was commissioned by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) in an effort to create greater comprehension of the physical, emotional, social, and economic impact of rape and sexual assault upon California taxpayers. Families, friends, partners, neighbors, and co-workers know first hand the time and resources necessary to recover from sexual violence. However, never before has there been a comprehensive quantitative analysis of both tangible and intangible costs to the state resulting from the utterly preventable crime of rape. The cost of sexual violence is high $140 billion. At a minimum, this report reveals how all Californians have an investment in eliminating sexual violence.

California anti-sexual assault advocates have for five decades responded to sexual violence survivors through counseling sessions, hospital forensic exams, reports made to law enforcement, and accompaniments to court proceedings. We recognize that through our prevention work – incalculable hours of education and training, public awareness campaigns, collaborative organizing and community mobilizing, policy change, media advocacy – we see culture change. Claims of sexual abuse against powerful individuals extend back into the 1970s and 1990s respectively. Survivors who once suffered in silence for decades have found courage in the new millennia to publically speak out and have been greeted by a society no longer tolerant of rape and abuse. The global ripple effect of disclosures, terminations, lawsuits, and investigations has impacted public government and private industries across the globe. We can credibly state that years of prevention work have shifted our culture from one of silence and shame to one intolerant of sexual violence and demanding accountability.

Our vision is BIG – a sexually respectful and healthy world free from sexual violence. The Cost and Consequences of Sexual Violence in California is a critical piece in accomplishing this vision. In order to accomplish this task, everyone must recognize their part in shaping a vision for the future: vision that disallows molestation as a first sexual experience, a vision where laborers support their families without fear of a sexually hostile work environment, and vision where we have the courage to remove those elements that normalize sexual assault in society from sexist comments to looking the other way. It is essential that everyone buy into the big picture because as this report evidences, not doing so is far more costly.  Further, by investing in California’s sexual violence intervention and prevention efforts, we invest in a healthy future for California.

 

The Cost of Sexual Violence is High, Invest in Prevention