New York, NY – April 5, 2018 – NO MORE is commemorating National Sexual Assault Awareness Month with the release of two new powerful short videos that shed light on different experiences with sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. The organization has joined forces with one of its steering committee members, 1in6, to produce a new public service announcement (PSA) recognizing men as survivors of sexual violence. In addition, NO MORE has teamed with LA-based writer/director Maya Albanese, who created an empowering short film showcasing the champion boxer Melissa St. Vil in advance of her April 6th bout in Finland.
“If we want to end the epidemic of sexual violence in our culture, we must listen to and learn from all survivors,” said Tracy DeTomasi, Executive Director of NO MORE. “This Sexual Assault Awareness Month and beyond, we are working with our partners to use the power of media and of grassroots organizing to encourage greater awareness and action.”
The new PSA created with 1in6, funded in part by the NFL, is the first of its kind in transforming sexual abuse experienced by men and boys from a stigmatized, private problem into an actionable community issue. It seeks to shed light on the reality that at least one in six men are survivors of sexual abuse or assault through a creative and unexpected twist: after five women read first-hand accounts of sexual abuse or assault, it is simultaneously revealed to both the women and the viewer that these accounts belong to men, and that the men to whom the stories belong are present at the filming. Each woman and man proceed to have a candid conversation about what it means to acknowledge and support men who have had these experiences. Watch video here (www.nomore.org/truth).
“We hope to dispel the myth that men are invulnerable, encouraging viewers of the PSA to have compassion for all survivors of sexual abuse and assault, regardless of their gender identity or expression,” said Andy Langdon, who leads 1in6’s creative team and directed the PSA. “And if you’re a survivor who identifies as male, we encourage you to have compassion for yourself—it wasn’t your fault.”
Boxer Melissa St. Vil experienced abuse as a child and, in August 2009, she was assaulted by her then-trainer Roger Mayweather, who ultimately pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts of battery and avoided jail time. Though cast as a powerless victim in many media accounts, Melissa was adamant that she wanted to share her experiences and to inspire other survivors to speak out, overcome past traumas and live positive, fulfilled lives. The resulting black & white short film created by writer/director Maya Albanese—along with producer, Jonathan Biebl, and cinematographer, Catherine Goldschmidt—uses a poem written by Maya and narrated by Melissa to show an empowered athlete channeling her strength and positive energy into her passion, and encouraging others to do the same. The film is being released in conjunction with Melissa’s scheduled boxing match in Finland on April 6th, in which she seeks to take the WBC Super-featherweight title from Eva Wahlstrom. Watch video here (www.nomore.org/letitout).
“When you get molested or beaten. It’s like a tattoo of shame. It messes you up mentally. And I just want other survivors going through this to know that they shouldn’t be embarrassed. They gotta let it all out. Scream. Share your stories. Let yourself be heard,” said boxer Melissa St. Vil.
“When Melissa and I connected, yes I felt her deep pain, but I also felt her energy and joie de vivre,” said writer/director Maya Albanese, “To me, the greatest privilege as a director is being able to channel and express human stories that can empower and inspire others.”
Throughout April, NO MORE is also supporting community events around the country organized by local NO MORE campaigns and nonprofit partners. Examples include:
- Southwest PA says NO MORE “Coaching Boys Into Men” Training for coaches and athletic directors, April 7, in Pittsburgh, PA
- The Every Voice Coalition’s Student Rally Against Sexual Violence, April 10, Boston, MA
- The Sexual Assault Center’s “Nashville Says NO MORE” Town Hall meeting, April 16, Nashville, TN
- Passaic County (NJ) Board of Chosen Freeholders Day of Action, April 18, in Paterson, NJ
About Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Every April, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), one of the many leading organizations on NO MORE’s steering committee, has coordinated the national Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign to educate and engage the public in addressing this widespread issue. This year’s theme is “Embrace Your Voice.” Join the campaign by accessing free resources at nsvrc.org/saam. Resources are available in Spanish at nsvrc.org/es/saam. Learn more about the organizations behind NO MORE at nomore.org/behind.
1in6 is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences live healthier, happier lives. 1in6 also serves family members, friends, partners, and professionals by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community. In the 11 years since it was founded, 1in6 has become a leading voice in the anti-sexual violence movement, and has partnered with organizations and campaigns such as the Joyful Heart Foundation, NO MORE, RAINN, Men & Healing (Canada), Living Well (Australia), and Survivors Manchester (UK). In 2017, almost 400,000 visitors turned to the 1in6 website for support. For more information, visit 1in6.org.
About Filmmaker Maya Albanese
Maya Albanese is a writer/director known for her social impact and underdog empowerment storytelling. She was recently awarded the inaugural DGA-AICP diverse directors fellowship that supports emerging women directors, and the Superlounge Diversity Award for commercial directors. Maya has directed and shot documentaries and commercials on five continents, and in Spanish, French, and English. She has directed commercial content for IBM, Nike Women, Kids Foot Locker, Manchester United, John Frieda, Chevrolet, Ketel One, Capital One, JCPenney, Chevrolet, Capital Group, Etc. And her multimedia stories have been published across NBC News, The Today Show, Food Network, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Miami Herald, VOX, Racked, EATER, Popsugar, Narrative.ly, and many more. In addition, her indie documentaries have premiered at festivals worldwide including DOCNYC. Maya has a Masters in Documentary Filmmaking from Columbia University in New York.
About NO MORE
NO MORE unites and strengthens a diverse, global community to help end domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse. Dedicated to inspiring cultural change and advancing societal progress, NO MORE provides public awareness campaigns, marketing tools and communications resources for anti-violence organizations, large and small. Encouraging everyone – women and men, youth and adults, from all walks of life – to be part of the solution, NO MORE sparks national and international grassroots activism. Launched in 2013, NO MORE brings together the largest coalition of advocacy groups, service providers, governmental agencies, major corporations, universities, communities and individuals, all under a common brand and a unifying symbol in support of a world free of violence. NO MORE is a project of NEO Philanthropy, a 501(c)(3) public charity.
Learn more about NO MORE or download our free tools at www.nomore.org. Sign up for email updates (www.nomore.org) and follow NO MORE on Twitter (https://twitter.com/nomoreorg), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NOMORE.org) and Instagram (https://instagram.com/nomoreorg).