We begin the year with a message of hope: 2014 was the year a new national conversation surrounding sexual assault and domestic violence began, and together we’re working to sustain and gain even more momentum as we head into ‘15. It was hard to select from so many, but here’s just ten of the many incredibly empowering takeaways, big and small, from the past twelve months. Looking at them in one place is a great way to get energized for the year ahead.
Hashtag activism. Thanks to social media, the message is spreading—fast. In a year of bombshell headlines, there was a constant chorus of online voices saying (and Tweeting!) NO MORE. From Bev Gooden’s #WhyIStayed to #YesAllWomen to #IamJada, supporters spoke out.
Transformational laws. Legislators are redefining what “consent” really means. This year, the pioneering Yes Means Yes law was passed in California. (Check out this interview with one of the activists who helped work on the bill.)
Men joining the effort and leading change. More and more men are speaking out through activist and support organizations like A Call to Men, Party With Consent, Men Can Stop Rape, The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Ten Men Project, and 1 in 6.
NO MORE in Times Square. In November, Viacom billboards aired NO MORE PSAs every six minutes.
Greater awareness about financial abuse. The wounds are invisible, but financial abuse occurs in 98 percent of domestic violence cases. Actress Kerry Washington spoke out about it through Allstate’s Purple Purse initiative.
Brave writers sharing their stories. More and more, journalism is becoming a hospitable forum for survivors and advocates to find a voice. Don’t miss this courageous piece on child sexual abuse, forgiveness, and self-discovery by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, or this story about the complexities of speaking out by Dartmouth College professor and rape survivor Susan J. Brison in Time.
Hollywood and sports embracing the message. The cry against domestic violence and sexual assault is reaching wider, more mainstream audiences as the message moves to the forefront. Maybe you saw a NO MORE PSA (developed pro bono by Rachel Howald and her team at Y&R and the Joyful Heart Foundation, and produced pro bono by the Viacom Velocity team) during a Law & Order: SVU marathon on USA Network, on 12 Viacom networks including MTV, BET, and Comedy Central, or while watching your favorite football team.
Project Unbreakable. This ever-evolving photo gallery that showcases survivors holding quotes from their rapists gave thousands of people validation and a voice. Check out this gallery with 21 men and their signs. Yes, men and boys are survivors, too.