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End Rape on Campus (EROC) is a survivor advocacy organization dedicated to ending sexual violence through survivor support, public education, and policy and legislative reform.

We provide free, direct assistance to all survivors of gender-based and sexual violence on campus interested in filing federal complaints, organizing for change, or drawing public attention to hold their schools accountable.

We have assisted hundreds of students at dozens of schools file Title IXClery Act, and other civil rights complaints to seek justice and reform.

EROC Blog

I realized I could not celebrate Father’s day. I had no ability to dance for him. I could not celebrate the countless fathers who have caused pain directly and indirectly to their children through sexual violence.

For Immediate Release: End Rape on Campus Assists in the Filing of Federal Complaints Against the University of Alabama and Calls on State Lawmakers for Change

End Rape On Campus

In 2016, End Rape on Campus (EROC) assisted Megan Rondini’s parents in the filing of federal Title IX, Title II, and Clery Act Complaints against the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, for failures to follow civil rights and campus crime reporting requirements. Her story, “How Accusing A Powerful Man of Rape Drove A College Student To Suicide” was published in BuzzFeed News this morning.

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Why Do We Need Exclusive Spaces Within Pride?

End Rape On Campus

On college campuses within clubs or communities geared towards marginalized folks, you shouldn’t be surprised to come across an event or group with the attached label: “Closed Space.” What this means is that the particular space you are soliciting is exclusive, or “closed” to only those who identify within the space’s parameters: for example, a Black Student Union event being a closed space only for Black folks, or a Queer party closed to only members of the LGBTQ community. What many people misinterpret as “reverse discrimination” is actually an attempt at legitimately securing a place of sanctuary. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, and all the other “isms” are deeply ingrained into the majority of where folks occupy space daily: the office, the bathroom, the grocery store, on TV, etc. Closed spaces allow for marginalized and disenfranchised communities to find each other, create a space where they are represented and understood, and where the daily “isms” of the outside won’t touch them.

Pride festivals operate along the same logic. Why do we have Pride? Yes, it is to commemorate and make visible the fight for the LGBTQ civil rights movement, but it is also a chance for the community to gather and hold space for our Queerness itself without the “isms” suffocating us. If you’re an ally, remember this when you decide to join the party or visit a gay club on the weekends. Remember that essentially this whole world is catered to you, whereas our community holes up in a handful of clubs and once-a-month parties. We barely have space, so be mindful when you decide to take up ours.

But allies aren’t the only threat to sanctuary during Pride. Within the Queer community itself, the “isms” still manage to create hierarchies and breed unsafety — which is why the existence of separate events that are even further specific than just “LGBT” are organized and held during Pride festivals and throughout rest of the year. These are mainly catered towards queer women, trans and non-binary folks, and women of color/people of color (POC). Because LGBTQ spaces are dominated by gay men and by white, cisgender folks in general, these three marginalized groups within the queer community are forced to create their own spaces not only to be visible to the rest of the community and the world as a valid group of people with their own strength and number, but also to ensure that there is indeed a space for them at all to exist and seek sanctuary and pride.

These events are very city-specific, and vary in difficulty to find. In larger cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, some of the more well-known events are the Trans March and the Dyke March. In San Francisco, the motorcycle group Dykes on Bikes has been a part of the the parade for more than 40 years. And in LA, certain nights are dedicated specifically to women and trans folks to allow for safer places for them to party, like the aptly named “Women’s Party” and “Trans Party” this year. Additionally, Black Gay Pride marches are events are scattered all over the nation. Last year, Chicago had a whole weekend devoted to Black Gay Pride, but the largest celebrations are in Washington, D.C., LA, and Atlanta.

Unlike LA, some Pride programming isn’t often officially allotted for marginalized groups. To find the niche spots, you’ll have to research your local groups, queer dance party organizations, and queer party promoters. Privately organized queer dance parties are the most regularly scheduled and dependable spaces for marginalized queers. Dance parties that aren’t held in main gay clubs are usually monthly. Even in San Francisco, one of the gayest cities in the world, there are only one or two specifically lesbian clubs. This is why most of the private dance parties are once-a-month nights for women or women of color. Even though trans and non-binary folks rarely have their own spaces, they are usually always welcomed at closed spaces for queer women.

Monthly dance parties in the Bay Area like Ships In the Night, Darling Nikki, and Mango, a day party specific to queer people of color (QPOC), are havens for queer women left out and pushed out by the mainstream gay scene. This year, multiple queer dance party organizations are partnering to put on a private party during SF Pride called Sissy Darlings In the Night. Similarly, Miami’s South Beach has its own party tradition for Black women called SweetHeat Miami. SweetHeat Miami was created in 2008 specifically counter the white, techno/house gay culture, and centralize Black queer women and hip hop/Latin music.

These versions of closed spaces outside of college campuses are the only things we have to ensure our safety as queers occupying intersectional marginalized identities. It helps foster safe spaces that bring together sensitivity, understanding, and awareness to those in attendance. This is important because even within our own closed spaces for queer folks, there can be transphobic, racist, and misogynistic threats. It is well known that in dominantly gay male spaces, gay men often grope and assault women as a “compliment.” They view their assault as the exception: “It doesn’t count because I’m gay.” Additionally, much of the white gay and lesbian population say transphobic comments, still don’t recognize non-binary folks, and are not culturally sensitive, which reproduces toxic environments for those who need safe spaces the most. Muslim LGBTQ, QPOC, and undocumented LGBTQ folks find it infinitely more difficult to find a space that respects both their queerness and their other identities. With that in mind, specific parties within the community are essential in supporting marginalized LGBTQ folks. Organizing separate events, official or additional programming, and parties assists us in our inter-community struggles to remain seen, validated, and centralize our own voices and existence.  

TERRAN PIEROLA (pronouns they/them) is genderfluid, mixed race, queer boi. As a writer, editor, and a passionate activist for intersectional womxn of color feminism, Terran intends to help change the world through community building and institutionalizing inclusivity. Their interests and experience focus on creating supportive and educational resources for gender non-conforming, trans, and queer folks; queer fashion & film; and advocating for critical pedagogy in mainstream spaces. They graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in English, and currently live in Los Angeles.

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EROC Statement on the Outcome of the Bill Cosby Trial

End Rape On Campus

For Immediate Release                                                                                     Saturday, June 17, 2017

END RAPE ON CAMPUS STATEMENT ON THE OUTCOME OF THE BILL COSBY TRIAL

Today, End Rape on Campus (EROC) stands in solidarity with Andrea Constand, the more than 50 brave survivors who have come forward against Bill Cosby, and all survivors of sexual violence. While we at EROC believe that justice was not served in this case, we unfortunately were not surprised with this outcome, as it is a single incident that exemplifies the massive failings of a system that survivors are supposed to be able to trust — but cannot.

In the United States, survivors rarely receive justice, government leaders are still elected after bragging about sexually assaulting women, perpetrators openly admit to rape, and society fails to believe survivors every day. It is no wonder so many survivors fear coming forward. If survivors do come forward, far too often, they do not receive the justice they deserve from the criminal justice system. For every 1000 rapes, only 7 will result in a felony conviction — in the United States, the courts rarely hold perpetrators of sexual violence accountable. Therefore, survivors are often forced to choose between remaining silent or suffering from disbelief and retaliation, with little hope of justice. The consequences of the choice between silence and suffering are exacerbated when one’s assailant is a community leader, politician, a well-known athlete, or a celebrity.

It is clear from this week’s events that the criminal justice system fails many marginalized communities including survivors, women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and immigrants. End Rape On Campus is committed to alleviating some of the obstacles caused by systematic oppressions by providing services, assistance, and support to survivors of sexual violence, and by believing survivors like Andrea Constand. We will not stop fighting until case outcomes like this one are seen as surprising and unacceptable.

 Any press inquires can be directed to jdavidson@endrapeoncampus.org.

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End Rape on Campus (EROC) is a national nonprofit that works to end gender-based violence on college campuses through survivor support, prevention to education, and policy advocacy on the campus, local, state, and federal levels. You can learn more at www.endrapeoncampus.org.

The Importance of Safe, Inclusive Spaces

End Rape On Campus

To Allies of the LGBTQ Community,

As we acknowledge LGBTQ history and the Pulse shooting last year, we must reflect on our commitment to bettering LGBTQ lives and actively show our solidarity for equality. We must evaluate the current climate during this time of remembrance and reflection. Last week, we witnessed marginalized queer and trans people of color block the DC Capital Pride parade, after which we would be remiss if we didn’t ask ourselves, who is Pride serving and how can we be more inclusive? As allies, it is our responsibility to  ensure all LGBTQ individuals are given a safe space in which they are free to exist and be themselves, especially during Pride. As we take the tragedy that happened at Pulse and the importance of the #NoJusticeNoPeace rally into consideration, we bear witness to an outcry for all LGBTQ people to have safe, inclusive spaces. In respect to this call to action, EROC wants to stress the importance of inclusiveness of these disenfranchised communities. Bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, and asexual individuals are often erased and forced into the margins within the LGBTQ community. These actions contribute to real violence and threats to the community’s safety, and result in events such as at Pulse or the Stonewall Inn. During this year’s Pride it is important that we recognize the unique challenges these marginalized communities face, and offer representation, safe havens, resources, and care specific to their particular needs as service providers, Pride-goers, and organizers.

The needs of marginalized groups such as the transgender community are often diminished, or erased, and often go unaddressed. The community is particularly vulnerable because trans people, especially transgender women of color, experience exceptionally high rates of discrimination and violence. In fact, trans women of color make up one of the most vulnerable populations, with a life expectancy of just 35 years. Even considering the mystery behind Marsha P. Johnson’s death and the murder of the tenth transgender person of color this year,it appears that some progress has been made since Stonewall in 1969. However, we still have so much further to go. Community organizers  should consider creating events and programs specifically to support and welcome this community. Pride should be a safe space for all LGBTQ individuals, but recent sponsorship of the very law enforcement that caused the Stonewall Riots are given more space than the marginalized LGBTQ youth who have historically led this movement.

Additionally, bisexual people’s experiences are consistently erased from LGBTQ-specific narratives, events, and resources as well. This is largely due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of sexual fluidity, resulting in less inclusion to meet the particular needs of these communities. That being said, Pride is one of the best months to learn from the outpour of information that floods the internet. Use the month to learn about different LGBTQ experiences so that we can seek justice and equality for everyone. Seek out opportunities — not just during Pride Month, but throughout the year — to include marginalized communities and create inclusionary events and programs. Whether in education or in campus safety we must address the specific needs of everyone within the LGBTQ community — centering the most disenfranchised.

So take this energy and motivation from Pride Month into other areas in your life to push for inclusiveness and equality. Use your voice and vote to prevent physical and legislative targeted attacks against the LGBTQ community. Further, learn from LGBTQ folks and organizations. This Pride, EROC’s mission is to educate students of their rights and provide information for the survivors who often fall between the cracks. As we have learned from previous Pride Month blogs about LGBTQ history and the barriers survivors face in reporting and receiving assistance, it’s important to include and uplift these communities in our advocacy work.  

Toronto Pride last year set a prime example of solidarity and how to take meaningful steps towards collaboration with marginalized groups. By meeting with local queer Black Lives Matter activists and listening to their demands, Toronto learned how to create a safe Pride for everyone. It is our responsibility and duty as advocates for all survivors of sexual violence to continue progressing in the same fashion. 

In Solidarity,

Chardonnay Madkins

CHARDONNAY MADKINS (pronouns: she/her/hers)is a womanist and activist serving the Los Angeles area. She received her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Psychology and Urban & Environmental Policy from Occidental College. As one of the few black women leaders on Occidental's campus, Chardonnay Madkins played a prominent role in the institution's Black Student Alliance and also co-founded the Oxy Sexual Assault Coalition, where she shed light on issues involving survivors of color and mobilized students and faculty to demand administrators appropriately handle sexual assault cases. She dedicates her time advocating specifically for Black survivors and changing policies around sexual assault. She maintains a passion for knowledge and aspires to continue her education of human rights and womanist politics in order to give voice to the voiceless.

You can reach Chardonnay at cmadkins@endrapeoncampus.org

Respecting Pride: A Guide for Allies

End Rape On Campus

Happy Pride Month, friends of EROC! June marks a whirlwind of celebration and resistance for the LGBTQ community, who continue to fight so fiercely for basic human rights and respect. Pride is often characterized by all things flamboyant and colorful — rainbow flags, parades, glittery bead garlands. But as queer, transgender and non-binary people know, Pride is about so much more than just the festivities. It symbolizes triumph over persecution. It brings people together in the name of love and acceptance. It also serves as a reminder of how much progress still needs to be made.

So when cisgender heterosexual (cishet) allies with no deep connection to the struggles that LGBTQ people face take part in Pride-related activities, they may be co-opting the occasion for their own pleasure, no matter how well-meaning they may be. Allies, you will be welcome at most events during Pride, but you must accept that this celebration is not meant for you. If you really want to support your LGBTQ friends, family, and neighbors, step back and reflect on your contributions to Pride. Are you being helpful or harmful? Are you allowing people space or taking it away? If you have no idea where you stand, consider whether you do the following:

Educate yourself.

Before you step foot in a Pride event, do some research to understand the historical context behind the occasion, as well as the ways that LGBTQ people are forced to combat oppression to this day. With a better understanding of what Pride means to LGBTQ folks, you’ll have more respect for all that it embodies. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but also be cognizant of the emotional labor that LGBTQ folks must carry out to teach you (and compensate them for their time if necessary). Take the initiative to look up blogs and social media created by LGBTQ people and share their content across your own networks.

Know when you’re taking up too much physical space.

During Pride in many cities, LGBTQ-friendly bars, restaurants, clubs, and other venues are overrun with revelers. Establishments that have historically catered to an LGBTQ clientele should be serving these folks, who may be seeking a safe place to let loose and enjoy themselves. For LGBTQ people, simply existing can be met with violence, making safe spaces for people to dance with their partners or catch up with their friends all the more important — This definitely isn’t the time to bring your cishet bachelor/bachelorette party crew to a gay bar. And if you find yourself dancing in a club that has a long line of LGBTQ folks trying to get in, it might be time to go elsewhere. Be mindful of the space that you inhabit and gracefully bow out when you have taken up too much.

Open your wallet.

What’s one of the best ways to show your appreciation for all that Pride represents? Money. Sure, you can talk about how much Pride means to you, but when it comes down to demonstrating that you care about the people whose celebration you are enjoying, your money sends a strong message. Provide generous tips to bartenders and servers at LGBTQ establishments. Tip the performers at drag shows and other entertainers. Don’t forget to ask your LGBTQ friends about local charities that need your financial support. LGBTQ-serving homeless shelters, community centers, and other safe spaces will benefit substantially from your contributions. Many LGBTQ youth in particular face poverty because they are subject to discrimination from their families or employers, so donating to organizations that serve them can make a big difference.

Know the difference between being an ally and an expert.

You probably wouldn’t be at Pride if you didn’t have some affinity for the LGBTQ community. Perhaps you took a queer history course in college or you were involved in your high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. That’s wonderful! But unless you’re a queer or trans person yourself, you are not the go-to source of information on all things LGBTQ. Acknowledge when you have inadvertently dominated the conversation and be open to criticism when you slip up. A good ally doesn’t get defensive when they have stepped out of bounds; they are grateful for the opportunity to learn and improve.

Practice good judgment in photography.

Certain Pride-goers, like dancers in a parade or performers at a drag show, are usually fine being photographed. Some people may even want to be tagged in social media to promote their business or organization. But random people simply enjoying themselves? Probably not. Just because people are out in the open doesn’t mean that they want to be featured on your Instagram account under the gauze of a rainbow filter. For many folks, attending Pride events is an act of resistance, and may be part of their coming-out process. You could even be outing someone by taking their picture at a Pride event, jeopardizing their privacy and possibly their safety. When in doubt, stick to selfies with your friends and other people who have clearly consented to being photographed.

Don’t make assumptions.

When you meet someone new, be careful not to make assumptions about their gender identity or sexuality. Remember that it’s impossible to know these things judging by someone’s partner, appearance, or demeanor. Pronouns, whether he, she, they, or ze, are important to respect. If you’re not sure about someone’s pronouns, use gender-neutral terms such as “they” when speaking about someone. When you do meet that person, ask what pronouns they use and offer your own. Always use the pronouns that someone gives you. If you make a mistake, simply apologize and correct yourself.

Keep exclusive spaces exclusive.

As Pride becomes increasingly commercialized and whitewashed, the narratives of people of color and trans folks are often pushed to the side, prompting a greater need for exclusive spaces. This could mean a support group for trans women of color (WOC) survivors, or an organized outing for gay Black men. Don’t be offended if you aren’t welcome at events exclusive to certain groups within the LGBTQ community; these spaces are made to ensure people’s safety and comfort, which will always come before the feelings of cishet allies. Plus, there are plenty of other ways that you can participate in Pride activities. See what volunteer opportunities are available, such as passing out literature for local LGBTQ organizations or cleaning up after events.  

Respect people’s boundaries.

Pride, like all other times of the year, should be a safe experience for everyone. It should go without saying, but never touch someone without their consent. If someone doesn’t want to dance with you or chat with you, move along. If you are taking up space that doesn’t belong to you or making people uncomfortable, you need to leave. The bottom line is that someone’s gender identity, sexuality, or appearance is in no way an invitation for harassment. Period.

Be an ally all year long, not just at parades and festivals.

Pride isn’t a one-and-done event. Too many people who call themselves allies use Pride as an excuse to throw on some glitter and party, then pack up the rainbow attire once July 1 rolls around. Don’t be that person. Continue to better yourself, learning what it means to be a good ally. Keep in mind that these guidelines aren’t just for Pride. Throughout the year, you should be working to ensure the safety of LGBTQ folks, whether at work, school, in a health care setting, or walking down the street. Pride is just one opportunity to express solidarity with the LGBTQ community; don’t make it your last.

JULIA HASKINS (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a writer, editor, and reporter dedicated to stamping out sexual assault and shedding light on rape culture. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing at Northwestern University, Julia has used her journalism background to inform readers about the issues most important to her. She is especially passionate about media related to health and feminism. Julia's writing has appeared in outlets such as ReadersDigest.com, People.com, Healthline, Parents.com, and more. 

You can reach Julia at jhaskins@endrapeoncampus.org.

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Barriers to Assistance for LGBTQ Survivors

End Rape On Campus

Derived from the protests in New York City’s West Village, LGBTQ Pride was born out of resistance, civil disobedience, and addressing the needs of LGBTQ youth. Originally led by trans women of color, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the Pride movement has become more mainstream, and ironically, less space has been given to the exact disenfranchised LGBTQ communities who began it and who need it the most. Certain types of experiences have begun to dominate the conversation surrounding Pride and homophobia in the U.S. while many marginalized narratives are erased. This leaves vulnerable people within the LGBTQ community to contend with increased levels of violence and a lack of support.

By acknowledging the particular barriers LGBTQ individuals experience, and centering those who are the most disenfranchised in this community, service providers can develop a comprehensive support system for all LGBTQ survivors on campus.  It is imperative that those who assist survivors understand how sexual orientation, race, gender expression, ability, and income impact survivors of sexual violence. We must aim to diminish those barriers to provide comprehensive care.

It is important that as we reflect on the origins of Pride, its importance, and building community and networks of support, that as advocates, activists, and allies, we ensure that we are inclusive of all survivors, and all LGBTQ survivors in particular. In order to provide culturally competent services to LGBTQ survivors, we consider the challenges that the most disenfranchised face as barriers to seeking assistance and support, from individuals in their community to institutions such as schools, the labor force, and the criminal justice system.

Stereotypes and Myths About the LGBTQ Community

Negative stereotypes and homophobic beliefs about the LGBTQ community influence many first responders’ reactions to sexual violence against LGBTQ students. Rape myths about LGBTQ people include erasure of same-sex sexual assault, especially violence perpetrated by women against women, and sexual violence against transgender people. Another myth involves transphobic rhetoric suggesting that trans students wanting to use the restroom according of their choice are predators. These beliefs ultimately limit an LGBTQ survivor’s ability to receive support and assistance from their community, administrators, and advocates.

Confidentiality: Risk of Being Outed

Being outed is one of the leading concerns LGBTQ survivors have when seeking assistance after an assault and when reporting. Outing someone could have an immense hardship on an LGBTQ person’s life. They risk facing discrimination that could have a negative impact on their lives. For some disenfranchised LGBTQ youth, being outed in certain communities could cause a person to lose their support system and force them into homelessness. Others could potentially lose their job, or face further violence and harm. Outing someone without their consent is a serious offense. This is why confidential reporting options and resources provided on campuses are beneficial for LGBTQ survivors.

Financial Burden/Large Financial Costs

For many LGBTQ youth, especially LGBTQ youth of color, poverty is an issue. The Huffington Post reported that in a study  21 percent of LGBT employees had claimed to have been discriminated against in hiring, promotions and pay. In the workplace, LGBTQ employees have limited legal protection and experience discrimination in hiring and promotions, feeling unwelcome in a hostile environment where they may feel pressured into be closeted. Lesbian women,  trans folks, and LGBTQ undocumented workers experience higher levels of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Employment is fundamental in a person’s ability to provide for themselves and their families, systemically discriminating against LGBTQ people in employment funnels the most vulnerable of this community into low-income and less access to resources. Colleges and universities, therefore, should offer students emergency funds and survivor assistance funds to cover the financial burden for those who may have additional after an assault.

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement, for decades, has been a violent institution that discriminates against LGBTQ people, particularly LGBTQ people of color. However, many advocates and schools do not acknowledge the systemic problems the police create for marginalized communities; and provide limited and ineffective resources to marginalized survivors. For many LGBTQ survivors, interaction with the police when reporting increases violence and harassment. Trans people in particular face exacerbated difficulty involving law enforcement due to dangerous transphobic beliefs officers may hold. Schools should require campus police to undergo LGBTQ and intersectionality sensitivity training, as well as offer various types of resources outside law enforcement for students.

Healthcare

For LGBTQ people, comprehensive healthcare is difficult to access. For survivors, comprehensive emergency medical care is scarce. To improve medical care for LGBTQ survivors, schools should offer sexual assault exams inclusive of collection exams of male survivors, offering PrEP, integrating LGBTQ specific healthcare into routine medical services, and requiring LGBTQ sensitive training for medical professionals in a university’s health clinic.

Shame and Fear of Isolation

Lastly, similar to many marginalized communities, the LGBTQ community is a close knit population that supports one another. However, in certain circumstances when both the perpetrator and survivor are members of the LGBTQ community, it may be more difficult for the survivor to name their assailant due to fear of being ostracized from the group. In many instances, survivors are not believed when they come forward, and this occurs within different social groups and the LGBTQ community is no different. For LGBTQ survivors this is particularly harmful, especially if they do not have additional outside support because of their identity as LGBTQ. A survivor after coming forward could face homelessness, poverty, and not have a sense of belonging or community support — which could exacerbate or lead to developing mental health issues. For schools, it is important that they offer LGBTQ specific resources for survivors to feel more comfortable coming forward rather than feeling forced into silence.

Solutions and Resources

Ultimately, these barriers to seeking support deny LGBTQ students an equal opportunity to educational programs — a right guaranteed by Title IX. When LGBTQ students do not have access to comprehensive care in the aftermath of an assault, the results could have a greater negative impact on their lives. LGBTQ students are likely to have a decrease in academic performance and to drop out. A community that has disproportionately high rates of poverty and is more likely to struggle with rape related financial burdens  — not earning a degree could potentially have harsher repercussions on LGBTQ students. Therefore, developing comprehensive and coordinated care for LGBTQ survivors is a necessity for schools. Colleges should consider offering more confidential and anonymous reporting options for LGBTQ survivors afraid of being outed, reserving a portion of school funds as a survivor’s assistance fund or emergency fund, curating a list of LGBTQ organizations as resources for survivors, and taking comprehensive steps to have a better medical response for LGBTQ survivors. This year for Pride Month we urge that schools, activists, and allies take meaningful steps towards addressing issues LGBTQ survivors face on campus in hopes to alleviate these hardships and ensure that everyone can have a positive educational experience.

CHARDONNAY MADKINS is a womanist and activist serving the Los Angeles area. She received her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Psychology and Urban & Environmental Policy from Occidental College. As one of the few black women leaders on Occidental's campus, Chardonnay Madkins played a prominent role in the institution's Black Student Alliance and also co-founded the Oxy Sexual Assault Coalition, where she shed light on issues involving survivors of color and mobilized students and faculty to demand administrators appropriately handle sexual assault cases. She dedicates her time advocating specifically for Black survivors and changing policies around sexual assault. She maintains a passion for knowledge and aspires to continue her education of human rights and womanist politics in order to give voice to the voiceless.

You can reach Chardonnay at cmadkins@endrapeoncampus.org

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A History of Pride and its Evolution

End Rape On Campus

June has arrived, and to the LGBTQ+ community, that means it is Pride Month. During Pride Month, thousands of people across the country and around the world gather to celebrate civil rights, declare their love for who they are, and send the message to the world that Queer folks exist and are here to stay. However, a fraction of those who celebrate actually understand the origins of Pride Month, let alone the Pride Marches. Only two presidents in our history of the United States have even officially declared a Pride Month at all — Bill Clinton, once in 2000, and Barack Obama during his two terms. What people should understand is that to this day, it is still as dangerous to show Pride as it was in its inception at the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969.

Back in the 1960’s, the fight for civil rights was heated and spread over many communities. The Black Panthers were on the rise, Martin Luther King Jr. was still leading the Civil Rights Movement, and protests were happening everywhere regarding U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Queer and trans folks were discriminated against, criminalized, and harassed frequently and legally. Civil laws criminalized sodomy, legally considered queerness “against nature,” and through state laws and regulations, punished queer and trans folks for existing. Gay bars were some of the only safe havens they had, as in some states, bars could refuse service to queer folks, or denied them the right to dance with each other in public. Police were ruthless in their raids and entrapment was a common occurrence.

In New York City, the Stonewall Inn was one of these safe havens for the queer community. The bar was a hub for the LGBTQ+ folks in the city. But on June 28th, 1969, it was raided unexpectedly by the New York Police Department. Crossdressers, trans folk, and drag queens were taken to the bathrooms to be checked for their “gender.” People were arrested. This is just one of the tactics that police used to enforce heteronormativity: a sumptuary law known as the three piece rule. It stated that anyone not wearing at least three pieces of clothing that matched the gender they were assigned at birth were to be arrested. Sumptuary laws are historically intended to reinforce social hierarchies and morals, allowing social rank to be more easily identifiable, and social discrimination more easily doled out. In this fashion, the three piece sumptuary law targeted gender nonconforming, trans, butch lesbians, and other queer folks.

The raid at the Stonewall Inn began to escalate that night. Many had felt it was the tipping point, and decided to fight back. Bottles were thrown, and a riot ensued that sparked a rebellion that lasted six days. After the initial bar patrons initiated the uprising, it spilled into the streets. Over the course of those six days, queer youth, homeless trans folks, and other LGBT folks joined the throng, and gave activists the momentum they needed to begin what we know now as the modern LGBT civil rights movement.

Those on the front lines were, and have been historically, across the board in the fight for civil rights, trans women of color. Gay and lesbian spaces often reserve focus for those who are white and cis, and history often reserves visibility for them. But, two trans women you should know, especially when discussing the origins of Pride and the LGBT civil rights movement are Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Both trans women of color, gay rights activists, and sex workers, Johnson and Rivera were amongst the first to incite the uprising at the Stonewall Inn. Marsha and Sylvia co-founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), dedicated to aiding homeless queer and trans youth and women of color. And both went on to become key figures in the founding of queer organizations and the continued community organizing around LGBT rights.

It is said that on the night of the Stonewall Uprising, Marsha P. Johnson was there celebrating her 25th birthday. When police began the raid, she said, “I got my civil rights!” and proceeded to hurl a shot glass at a nearby mirror, thereby inciting the resistance of other patrons towards law enforcement. It is known in Queer Myth as “The Shot Glass Heard Around the World,”the beginning of the rebellion that sparked a movement.

A year after the rebellion, Chris Rodwell and many other activists who played leading roles in the Uprising, organized a picketing in front of Philadelphia's Independence Hall, which they called “The Annual Reminder.” It was too quiet for Rodwell’s taste, so he returned to New York City and organized Christopher Street Liberation Day, named after the street on which the Stonewall Uprising took place. The march became the first gay pride march in the U.S., held on June 28, 1970. But it wasn’t the only event. The same weekend, the same year, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco also held inaugural Pride marches. However, it is Los Angeles that is credited with the first ever city-sanctioned Pride parade. Four years later, LA evolved the remembrance into a festival, which has affected Pride celebrations on a global scale.

In these early marches, those who participated did so at the risk of not making it to the end of the route. The threat of being beaten, arrested, or killed was very real. Pride was commemorated first as a march for a reason. It was a serious message with serious consequences. It’s a symbol of Queer struggle, violence, and death. In the past, Pride has been used for more than a giant party, but to recognize our worst tragedies, and the few visible victories we have achieved. In the 1980’s, it was important to honor the victims of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. During San Francisco Pride of 2015, the Supreme Court decision to legalize marriage equality in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges was made. And just last year, during LA Pride, the horrific tragedy of the Orlando shooting struck the Queer community across the nation.

The evolution of Pride has been such a sad one to watch. Last year, the organizers of Christopher Street’s West Pride Festival, better known as LA Pride, decided to rebrand themselves as a music festival. Not only did they raise ticket prices, but they also shortened free events specifically dedicated to trans and lesbian folks. The president of Christopher Street West claims it was because the price of the festival has risen by over 70% and that music is the most marketable way to reach Millennials. Protesters scorned the changes and dubbed the festival “gay Coachella.” Organizations banded together under the movement #NotOurPride, and had some of the changes reversed.

Public queer spaces have been dominated by gay, white men for decades. Trans folks are treated as outcasts even within the LGBT community. And queer folks are one of the largest groups of economically disenfranchised people to exist. Raising the cost of Pride, taking away the free events at Pride, and reducing the spaces reserved especially for trans and non-gay males is the exact opposite of what Pride represents. Not to mention that Pride and gay bars have become a new playground for “allies” and straight people looking to party or fetishize queerness. Blatantly commercializing Pride further disenfranchises and alienates queer folks, and inviting straight headliners to attract more straight people to this music festival that was supposed to be honoring Queerness and struggle is outrageous.

It produces a hotbed of unsafe spaces and disrespectful behavior. People who think they can dance on, touch, or kiss whomever they want; cisgender heterosexual (cishet) people who dominate and invade safe spaces meant for queer folks to be amongst their own for a day; encouraging queerness as a spectacle, something to visit, or a party to go to — not a group of people, not a history, not a legacy to protect and honor. And even though today the remembrance of the Stonewall Uprising has evolved from marches of mere dozens of people to the festivals we have today, we cannot allow that message to be lost. Today we hold huge parades, parties, booze-soaked gaieties with dancers, drag queens, music, and festoons of rainbow as far as the eye can see. But what people need to remember is the point of it all. We wear what we want because it was once illegal and dangerous to do so. We dance and kiss because it was once even more dangerous to do so. We party and celebrate because every other weekend of the year around the globe people still think we don’t exist, or that we shouldn’t. We march because we remember those who died and fought before us to make this world easier for us to exist in as Queer folk.

Terran Pierola is genderfluid, mixed race, queer boi. As a writer, editor, and a passionate activist for intersectional womxn of color feminism, Terran intends to help change the world through community building and institutionalizing inclusivity. Their interests and experience focus on creating supportive and educational resources for gender non-conforming, trans, and queer folks; queer fashion & film; and advocating for critical pedagogy in mainstream spaces. They graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in English, and currently live in Los Angeles.

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EROC Celebrates Pride Month

Annie Clark

Yesterday marked the beginning of Pride Month, and while our work is year-long, we value this opportunity to honor and highlight Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) individuals and their impact on the world...At End Rape On Campus, we use this heightened visibility that comes with Pride to celebrate the LGBTQ community, and to remind ourselves that these conversations about equality and inclusion should be happening on a daily basis.

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The Collateral Damage of Sexual Assault

End Rape On Campus

There are a lot of anniversaries in life, some good and some sad, and another one is coming up for me. I won’t say what it is.

My daughter keeps encouraging me to write a healing letter.  I don’t even know where to start and I’m not even sure it will do what’s intended — heal!  But, here goes: I am the parent of a survivor of sexual assault.  

A while ago my child, my daughter, was sexually assaulted by someone she knew, and who I knew, we knew. Life for us is pretty much divided into two parts; before the assault and after the assault. I can’t even begin to describe the shock and utter disbelief that this individual would do something to my daughter like what he did. I am unable to comprehend how a human being gets to a point and a place where this becomes, for them, a viable option, a way to express themselves towards someone they professed to love and care for.

I carry a huge amount of guilt and I always will. I carry guilt for not being able to protect my daughter. I carry guilt for allowing this person to stay in her life when I should have insisted more vehemently he leave her life. I carry guilt for allowing this person into our home, allowing his presence, allowing him to be a part of celebrations in our home and for giving him presents and recognizing accomplishments and milestones in his life. I accepted this person into her life and our lives at face value, without knowing how truly dangerous he was and could be. Looking backwards there were signs, nothing big and nothing that would have signaled what would eventually happen.  

I have come to realize and accept that there are people in this world who are capable of awful evil intentions and acts. How this person chose my daughter I don’t know, but I do know he chose her because he recognized that there was something he could exploit and use. He was incredibly selfish and manipulative, something we passed off as typical teenage dating boy brainless behavior. It was anything but. My daughter loved this person with everything she had. It was truly important to her that he knew he was loved completely by her. She accepted him for exactly who he was. And when she finally walked away from him, stood on her own two feet and didn’t immediately take him back even after he begged, when she finally did that — that is when her safety was at risk.

The day of my daughter’s assault she allowed someone into her presence who she had once loved and still trusted. She had no reason to think he had bad intentions. He took full advantage of that and her. I will never know what his motivation was but I do know that when he didn’t get what he wanted, what he came there for, he took it anyway. She still has her life, which in your twisted universe, I am sure you will take credit for. Make no mistake, she saved herself!  Everything she did that day, every disgusting thing, she did to survive. She is a survivor and I couldn’t be prouder of her.

So, can I forgive you? That’s the point of a healing letter, right? Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. No, I cannot and I will not forgive you, ever!  I am too busy helping and supporting my daughter; making sure she’s safe and getting all the help she can to feel better and put her life back together.  She’s not all the way there, but she’s getting there and she’s going to do amazing things in the world and she’s going to do them for her and all her fellow survivors.

— Mom of a Survivor

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Re-Humanize: Words That Came With Rape Survival

End Rape On Campus

Trauma itself is a global earthquake
Relentless hands that shake your world
And when the shaking stops, it has only just begun
Because you look around and become lost in the damage:
The home of your body, it has been destroyed
Your openness to trust collapsed and your sense of safety demolished
It will take us months to count the losses
Everyday you find a new reason to grieve

So ignore them when they tell you to pick up your chin
For they are choosing ignorance in the face of the aftermath
Tell them it is not so easy to move forward
When your entire world is unrecognizable


Let’s stop saying things like: protect our boys
Let’s stop writing things like: 
“Young men with promising futures watched as their lives fell apart”
You confuse the words ‘victim’ and ‘career destroyer’
Which leaves you confusing the words ‘rapist’ and ‘victim’
And the contrast between opposites should be apparent
But I suppose you also confuse the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’

You act like these are poor confused boys whose penises got them lost
Like some broken compass that pointed them towards rape
You have this image of them lost in a forest that is our dark society
You want to give them compassion and show them the way
Teach them their wrongs
‘It is not their fault’
What a skewed image

You cannot show them the way through this mess
When they have already lit a match to shed some light on the situation
When they have already burned the entire forest down


I want to tell her
That I think she is the bravest girl in the world
For wearing her brokenness all over her skin

-Group Sessions


I have been introduced to this other species of human
With both a heart and the capacity to harm
A people who can turn their compassion on and off like a light switch
That can quiet their conscience as if they run their minds with a remote control

They are the kind of people you trust until they knock you off your feet
And the confusion hits you at the same time your back hits the floor
And you’re not quite sure which is the cause of all this pain

-The humanization of those that dehumanize 


I can choose to identify as an object
I can say I am a table
And assume that my being perceived as a table is inevitable
I can choose my actions accordingly
If I go on all fours
It is expected that someone will place more objects on top of me
As I am a table

Or I can choose to identify as a human
And so being on all fours does not necessarily mean someone will place objects on top of me like they would a table
They will likely refrain from doing so, as they see I have a face
And a heart
Like them

Similarly

I can identify as someone existing within rape culture
I can change my name to: Potential Victim
And I can assume that my being raped as Potential Victim is inevitable
I can choose my actions accordingly
I can wear high collar shirts
And drink less and use a buddy system
Because I assume that my being perceived as Potential Victim is inevitable
Because I am merely Potential Victim

Or I can choose to identify as a human
I can step outside of rape culture
And say that being drunk does not necessarily mean someone will rape me
Like they would Potential Victim
I can assume that they may refrain, as they see I have a face
And a heart
Like them

-My sister’s response to her self-blaming sister


Marlee Liss is a 22 year old author pursuing her Bachelor of Social Work and teaching Yoga. She began dancing at the age of three, training competitively in Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Ballet and Tap. Attending an arts high school and choreographing for her university’s dance team, artistic expression became her main outlet for emotion and self-discovery. Wanderlust since a young age, she is grateful to have travelled Peru, Israel, Cuba, Mexico and the United States. From trekking Machu Picchu, to living on an Eco-Yoga Farm, to tree planting in British Columbia, Marlee is an avid adventure seeker.

The summer of 2016 saw Marlee living in a tent for a month, road tripping across British Columbia and working on Yasodhara Ashram celebrating Divine Femininity. When she’s not frolicking around the globe, Marlee dances Beyonce style in heels with the Army of Sass, offers workshops called “Feminism & Yoga”, and hosting screenings of empowering documentaries. Her dream is to combine social work, yoga, and women’s empowerment, preferably somewhere that features a mountain. Marlee feels that her higher purpose is to remind individuals of the divinity within themselves and within every moment.

Follow Marlee on Instagram @marleenamaslays

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I Choose the Pen.

End Rape On Campus

**Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault**

I am writing this in pencil. Today I needed an outlet so I decided to write. The plan was not to overthink it, it was simply to write out my thoughts. I sat down, opened my bag and stared at my writing utensil options: two pens and a mechanical pencil. I love writing with pens. Both pens at my disposal possessed a cozy grip, medium point, and strong proclivity for smooth writing. Next to the pens, the mechanical pencil reverberated a sense of comfort. Strangely enough, this comfort conflicts with my actual opinion of pencils. I've never liked the way they write  —  coarse and unpredictable. The graphite creates ridges that change the way the pencil glides along the paper. Sometimes this creates smooth, linear lines and other times they are rough and disproportionate. With too much pressure, the tip of the pencil can break right off. Sure, the pencil has its benefits  —  Mistakes can easily be removed. The perfectionist in me doesn't like the scribbles or unsightly lines the pen leaves from crossed out misspellings or grammatical errors. The pencil caters to this need. But the real reason I chose the pencil was because I knew exactly what I intended to write about and planned on enlisting the eraser as my trusty, complacent guardian. With the quick swipe of the eraser, I could remove any traces of shame, any feelings of embarrassment, all suffocating discomfort. I could eradicate my experiences entirely, pretend they were never there to begin with, right?

The morning after I was raped in college, I experienced a complicated mixture of denial and affirmation. I woke up with a void in my memory where hours of the night before should have been. When I got up to go to the bathroom, my first step was met with the crinkle of an empty condom wrapper. I looked down and immediately felt as though the walls were caving in. My body told me something horribly wrong had happened; the pit in my stomach and pounding in my head silently screamed at me to fix everything  —  somehow make myself feel better. My head echoed thoughts of palpable vulnerability and anguish, but also just as certain thoughts of denial.

Jake* is your closest college friend. You spend several nights a week together. You trust him. Less than a month prior, you told him about the first time you were assaulted in high school; about the time you trusted another male friend and he took advantage of you. He heard how none of your friends believed you afterwards and how it crushed you. You took a chance and trusted Jake with your most grueling memory. No, he was not capable of this. It must have been a misunderstanding. Maybe you encouraged him somehow.

I sat at my desk and stared at my bed: the place where the hurt and confusion originated. The only concrete evidence, the empty condom wrapper, laid on the floor next to the safe haven I normally retired to for rest and comfort. This place felt dirty now. I needed an explanation. I decided to text him. What happened last night? He was confused. I didn't know? I was there. We had sex. He came over drunk from a party he’d been at for the last few hours, I had three drinks, and then we had sex. I was confused. I didn’t want to have sex with Jake. Why couldn't I remember? I'd never blacked out from three drinks before. How could I have possibly blacked out from just three drinks then done something I knew, and previously made explicitly clear to Jake, that I did not want to do? The last thing I remember was the two of us, alone in my dorm room. I was drinking my third glass of wine, sitting at my desk facing Jake. He was sitting on the bed holding his glass of gin and tonic and we were chatting about nothing in particular. In hindsight, it seemed as though I was getting really drunk, really fast, but it didn’t concern me at the time. Then my memory goes blank  —  nothing. The next thing I remember, it was morning. None of this made sense. I’d heard about roofies before and knew Jake had access to drugs because he’d offered me some before, but he wasn’t capable of this, right? But I only had three drinks.

I texted our mutual friend, Nick*. Nick said he’d seen Jake before he'd gone to my room. Jake was drunk and telling a group of guys at the party that he could sleep with his “easy” friend, me, whenever he wanted, but there was no way he was capable of what I was implying, Nick said. Jake could never drug and rape someone. He’s a good guy. I couldn’t deal with what I'd just heard. In a few short texts, Nick had both reinforced and invalidated what happened. I noticed I'd stopped breathing momentarily and took a deep breath. This couldn't be happening again. I felt like a hostage in my own body.

I acted on impulse. I told Jake I didn’t want to be friends anymore and I willfully gave in to my reflex to move on and ignore my feelings. I erased.

Today, as I clicked the end of my mechanical pencil to release the lead, I thought about the choice I made to use a pencil instead of one of my favorite pens. I thought about the solace I found in the ability to erase, the comfort in elimination, and how detrimental this way of thinking has been to who I am. I've spent much of my life in denial. This had effects far beyond my experience of the situation in college; it has created the passive, compliant, often insecure individual I’ve developed into. I’ve spent so much energy denying my own truth  —  pretending my feelings weren't there because they hurt. Depression and PTSD have been close companions to the memories of those experiences that have followed me around. My eraser trailed behind like a shadow.

Sometimes my eraser took on the form of alcohol. Alcohol made it easy to forget. A few beers helped a few months later when I had a seemingly random, ten-second flashback to that night with Jake: complete darkness, lying on my back, my body heavy and immovable like a human paperweight, someone on top of me, confusion, then nothing  —  That's when I needed to erase the most. Other times, my erasure was less intentional. I’d read an article about campus rape and be reminded of my experience. Again, my body would feel the distress, but this time my head would tell me not to worry about it. Get over it. Your experience was nothing like the victim in the article, she was actually violated. You’re making a big deal out of nothing. I had been conditioned to invalidate my own feelings.

A quick Google search will identify some of the synonyms for the word invalidate: cancel, nullify, and undo. I can’t cancel what happened. I can’t nullify my feelings. And I can't undo the lasting effect they have had on my life and who I am as a person. Usually, when pencil is erased, it is done to fix something. I can’t fix this by erasing it. It happened, and my feelings are valid and exist whether I choose to confront them or not. At this point, I can choose comfort in the coarse but erasable graphite of the pencil, or the uncertainty in the potentially imperfect but smooth and permanent ink of the pen. I can continue denying my thoughts and dismissing my feelings, or I can live my truth, trust my own perceptions, and go from there.

From now on, I think I’m going to ditch the pencil and choose the pen. I’m going to choose me.

*All names have been changed.

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Two Worlds

End Rape On Campus

I watch my 7-year-old daughter play and I want to freeze time. Not because I want her to stay little forever, but because I want her to live in her 7-year-old world forever. Her world is a much nicer place for girls to live in than my world currently is.

In my daughter’s world she is free. Free to run topless on the beach, to express her opinion openly, honestly, and loudly. Free to smile at boys, to earn the same allowance as her brother, to raise her hand in class and confidently give the answer. When she looks in the mirror she smiles. She will proudly tell you what she’s best at. She will color a picture, show it to you, and say, “Look how great I did!” She’ll choose clothes to wear because they’re comfortable. She’ll pass gas and excuse herself, treating it like a normal bodily function. She’ll join in a football game at recess, because she likes to run. She’ll eat food because it tastes good. She’ll gladly be in photos. Her only thought when making a decision is, “Will I like this?”

She doesn’t wear makeup or shave her legs or wax her bikini area. She doesn’t second-guess her outfits wondering if they’re appropriate. She doesn’t wear a pinching bra or painful high heels. She doesn’t color her hair to cover up greys. She doesn’t spend thousands of dollars a year on skin cream to avoid wrinkles. She doesn’t starve herself to be an “acceptable” size. She doesn’t get Botox. She doesn’t read self-help books. She doesn’t question an emotional outburst wondering, “Was that too much?” She doesn’t talk incessantly with her girlfriends about their weight or their exercise routines. She doesn’t suck in her stomach when taking a photo. She doesn’t second-guess herself all the time.

I think about the things she doesn’t know yet about my world. The things I never want her to learn. The things that will literally break my heart to teach her. 

I don’t want to tell her that she’ll be paid less than her male counterpart for doing the same job. That her career advancement will be tied more to her gender than her skills. That speaking her mind will earn her titles of “bitch” or “drama-queen.” That reporting an inappropriate incident to HR at work will only cause her grief.

That history books are filled with stories of our founding fathers, but leave little room to acknowledge the women who shaped our world. That the U.S. has never had a female president or vice president. That women make up less than 5% of company CEOs.

That she can’t go for a run at night without a rape whistle. That she can’t get publicly drunk without being at risk for sexual assault. That she’ll need a buddy-system to get home safely from parties. That she can’t smile at a guy or he may “get the wrong idea.” That she’ll have a dress code at school as to not “distract” the boys. That her college campus will have a “rape phone.” That “boys will be boys” but girls will get the blame for it.

I don’t want to tell her that she’ll fake orgasms because her partner’s pleasure outranks her own. That boys can talk about masturbating and it’s socially acceptable, but girls have to pretend they don’t masturbate. That movies will freely show a naked woman, but not a naked man. That a man who sleeps around is a “stud” but a girls who sleeps around is a “slut.”

That her periods are private at best, dirty at worst. That she’ll be judged for how much or how little weight she gains if she gets pregnant. That she’ll only get six weeks maternity leave. That if she gives up her career to be a mother she’s “not contributing” to society. But if she goes back to work as a mother she’s “selfishly” prioritizing her career over her family. That breastfeeding her baby will be a shameful activity that she’s meant to cover up. That her body is her worth, so she’d better get back her to her pre-baby weight right away. That her partner will want sex again soon, so she needs to be ready. That if her vagina stretched too much during delivery, she’ll need “vaginoplasty.” 

This is my world. The world I grew up in, since 1975. How, in good conscience, can I introduce my amazing, daring, free-spirited, daughter to this world in which I live? I can’t, is the answer. So I must fight for her world to prevail! Because her world is a much, much better place for us all to live equally.  

Kristen Podulka (KP) writes to change the world. Because all it takes is one person and a pen. She's an award-winning writer who's been published on Time.com, blogged for PAMP Parent's Club, and authors two of her own blogs: whatskpcooking.com and whatskpthinking.com. In her free time, she works full time as an advertising executive. She believes in true love, equality, strong coffee, cold beer, a good book, laughter and magic. She lives with her husband and two young kids in sunny Palo Alto, California.

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EROC Condemns Transphobic Bathroom Bans

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On Sunday night, the Texas State House of Representatives voted to bar students from using the restroom of their choice. This bathroom ban would force transgender kids to use single stalls -- separate from the rest of the students -- and would prohibit them from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity, further stigmatizing students who are already disproportionately targeted for rape, bullying, harassment, and assault in school.

As advocates for equal educational access for all students, End Rape on Campus strongly condemns bathroom bans that jeopardize the freedom of students to safely go to the restroom. We urge Texas lawmakers to defeat this harmful legislation.

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Meet Jess: EROC's Assistant Managing Director

End Rape On Campus

Meet Jess Davidson, our newest member of the EROC team, and Assistant Managing Director! You can read her bio here, but we sat down with her to get to know a little bit more about who she is. Want to say hi? Shoot Jess an email at jdavidson@endrapeoncampus.org!

End Rape on Campus (EROC): So Jess, tell us a little about yourself!

Jess: I’m a Colorado girl -- I grew up in Fort Collins and then went to the University of Denver. I studied Political Science, International Studies, and Leadership. I had an amazing experience at DU: I was really involved in Student Government and Student Life, studied abroad on the Eastern Cape of South Africa, and did university-sponsored research in rural southern Uganda and Havana, Cuba. I traded in my Colorado adventures and Denver sunshine for DC and moved here about a year ago. I love politics, podcasts, feminist theory, live jazz, running, skiing, and being in the mountains.

EROC: We have to ask, what kinds of Colorado adventures are you talking about?

J:  I’m happiest when hiking, trekking, skiing, and ice climbing -- or just basking in the mountain #viewz. Colorado’s 14ers -- mountains over 14,000 feet -- are some of my favorite hikes in the world. Fun fact: I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, a few years ago with my Dad!

EROC: You interned at The White House before this. Can you tell us a fun fact about your time there?

J: Instead of Taco Tuesday, the White House has Taco Wednesday. Nobody knows why it’s a day late, but Taco Wednesday was hands-down the best day of the week. Also, the marble in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building is so old that you can see real fossils in the floor!

EROC: Can you tell us a little bit about what brought you to EROC?

J: Over the last year, I’ve gone from Student Body Vice President to a fellow for the National Campus Leadership Council to advising student leaders with It’s On Us and finally to interning at The White House, working on the team of the Chair of The White House Council on Women and Girls and attending meetings of The White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault. The same two threads have consistently wowed me in each of these experiences: 1) Believing and empowering survivors can transform their lives, and, 2) Inclusive, survivor-centric policy can make survivors feel something they typically do not -- seen and supported by systems of power in our country. EROC’s approach to these two things (and to everything, really) has always been one I’ve looked to. As I started out as an activist a few years ago, my greatest inspirations were the work of The Obama White House and EROC, so to go from one to the other in my career is honestly beyond my wildest dreams, and I feel so, so honored to be here, and ready to get to work!

EROC: What is your go-to karaoke move?

J: I know it’s a bold move, but Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser.

EROC: Anything else we should know about you?

J: My caffeine addiction is a little out of control, but will serve me well as I get coffee with EROC’s many incredible partners over the next few weeks. I’m so excited to be a part of this amazing team and continue my work in the sexual violence prevention space!

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End Rape On Campus Statement Concerning Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of The Office for Civil Rights, Candice Jackson

End Rape On Campus

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End Rape On Campus (EROC) is among numerous organizations that are concerned about the appointment of Candice Jackson as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education. Fulfilling OCR’s mission — “to ensure equal access to education...through vigorous enforcement of civil rights” —  requires an unwavering commitment from, and scrutiny by, the federal government. Jackson’s previous public statements discrediting the impact of race discrimination serve to further marginalize survivors of color. Furthermore, publicly calling individuals  “fake victims” when they accused President Trump of sexual assault calls into question Jackson’s ability and commitment to fulfill the mission of her office. EROC believes survivors, no matter who — or how powerful — their assailant is.  


To the survivors who fear for their rights, and that campus safety will no longer be a priority for the federal government under Acting Assistant Secretary Candice Jackson, EROC wants you to know: We hear you, we believe you, and your experiences and fears are valid. The Office for Civil Rights —  and the greater Department of Education — is sworn to protect students and their civil rights to ensure equal access to education, no matter what. Candice Jackson’s record indicates that she has not done so in the past. EROC urges Candice Jackson to listen to survivors, and commit to protecting student survivors of gender-based violence in the spirit of her role as a public servant.

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END RAPE ON CAMPUS ANNOUNCES OPPOSITION TO TEXAS SENATE BILL 576; APPLAUDS SENATOR WATSON’S “NO” VOTE

End Rape On Campus

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On Tuesday, Texas Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin) took the courageous action of opposing Senate Bill 576, a dangerous piece of legislation that would disempower countless sexual violence survivors and discourage students from coming forward about these incidents. Under SB 576, colleges would be obligated to institute a mandated reporting requirement for certain incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking, and stipulates that if these incidents are disclosed to either a student leader or an employee but not reported to the school, then that person will be suspended or expelled, or in the case of an employee, charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense.

Though this legislation comes from a well-intentioned effort of attempting to hold schools accountable for sweeping sexual assault under the rug, the consequences of this legislation would actually harm the survivors that we are trying to serve, and create a chilling environment that discourages them from seeking help. In fact, the University of Texas recommended the opposite of this bill in its recent climate survey, observing that more confidential resources and fewer mandated reporters would encourage disclosure. As Kaileigh Phillips, a survivor from Trinity University, observed: “Truthfully, being assaulted was not the most traumatizing moment of my sophomore year of college. Rather, the investigation and subsequent conduct board hearing had the most damaging and lasting impacts on my mental health.”

Perpetrators of sexual violence commit these acts out of a desire for power and control. In the aftermath of having experienced this loss of autonomy, the best way we can help survivors is to empower them to decide what is best for them, including the decision about whether or not to report. This is a position that countless victim advocacy organizations have taken. We are heartened that Senator Watson listened to survivors and experts in the field, and we encourage the rest of the Texas State Legislature to do the same.


End Rape on Campus (EROC)  is a national non-profit dedicated to ending gender based violence on college campuses through survivor support, prevention through education, and policy advocacy. To learn more about EROC you can visit www.endrapeoncampus.org or follow us on Twitter: @endrapeoncampus.

Please direct any inquiries to Sofie Karasek at info@endrapeoncampus.org.

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EROC Australia launches new report on sexual assault

End Rape On Campus

"Connecting the dots: understanding sexual assault in universities communities" is a major new report launched by End Rape on Campus Australia. The report paints a damning picture of how Australian universities treat rape survivors, including cover-ups, victim-blaming, and institutional betrayal. The report contains the voices of multiple rape and sexual assault survivors, one of whom says: "Make no mistake, I consider the events of my sexual assault and this University's response to be equally despicable. There is a shocking correlation between someone not listening to you say 'stop' and an organisation not listening to you scream 'help.'" "Connecting the dots" was submitted to the Australian Human Right's Commission as part of their University Sexual Assault and Harassment Project, which aims to gain greater insight into the prevalence, nature, and reporting of sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities.

The submission provides detailed analysis of the problem of sexual violence in Australian educational communities, and includes a comprehensive suite of recommendations for change at the level of individual universities, as well as at state and federal government levels.

To download a PDF copy of the report, click here

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Happy International Women's Day

End Rape On Campus

Today is International Women’s Day. We stand with women around the world in celebrating what it means to be a woman, and in advocating for equality. While sexual violence affects all genders, women are disproportionately affected — particularly women of color, those in the LGBTQ community, and women with disabilities, among others.

Today, we hope you will join us in committing to the following:
 

1. Believe survivors.

Sarah Ogden Trotta, a licensed psychotherapist, said it best: "We have absolutely nothing to lose by believing a survivor’s words, and a survivor has everything to gain through the experience of feeling trusted and validated. Even if the details seem confusing, we must stand firm in knowing that their account of sexual assault is rooted in truth."

As an ally, when a survivor comes forward, you must tell them that you believe them, that the assault isn't their fault, and that they are not alone. Sexual violence is about control, and we must empower and restore control to survivors. Allies must support the choices survivors make.

2. Be intersectional.

We cannot talk about women’s issues without talking about race, gender identity/expression, sexuality, ability, documentation, economic status, and all intersections of identity that often  instigate compounded marginalization. We must center and amplify their voices in our conversations and in our actions.

Here are some tangible ways you can help support organizations and initiatives dedicated to uplifting women at these intersections:

Sexual violence organizations:

Campaigns:

  • #GiveYourMoneyToWomen - Lauren Chief Elk, an activist, prison abolitionist, and advocate for survivors, created the campaign to demand payment for much of the unpaid emotional labor women are expected to provide. Although, this campaign originally focused on unpaid emotional labor, Chief Elk explains that #GiveYourMoneyToWomen is inclusive of addressing inequality in the wage gap between women of color and white women, compensation of all unpaid labor such as household chores, and payment of women creatives whose work is often stolen and unpaid for their work.
  • #SayHerName - created by the African American Policy Forum (AAPF), a think tank which connects academics, activists, and policymakers to dismantle structural inequality. #SayHerName, a campaign that is often co-opted, is intended to address state-sanctioned violence against Black women and girls who are often erased from narratives around police brutality. In addition to #SayHerName, the AAPF is also responsible for other campaigns such as #BreakingtheSilence, #HerDreamDeferred, and #WhyWeCantWait.
  • #YouOkSis - Feminista Jones, activist, writer, social worker, and creator of #YouOkSis created this campaign to address street harassment and bystander intervention from an intersectional standpoint. Jones focuses on those who are most vulnerable to the harshest types of street harassment, Black women (both cisgender and transgender) and offers a realistic and comprehensive tool for bystanders to intervene — by simply asking “You ok sis?” For more information, please visit here.

Other Women’s Centered Organizations:


3. Support organizations that promote women's rights.

We have seen an unprecedented attack on women’s rights over the past few months. This is an important time to support organizations that promote the rights of women. We recommend doing your research and supporting grassroots, small nonprofits where every dollar counts.

Sexual violence on college campuses overwhelmingly affects young women. Our mission is to end gender-based violence on college campuses, and every aspect of our programming is dedicated to our vision in which all students will have equal access to education. You can support EROC by visiting endrapeoncampus.org/donate.   

Here are some other phenomenal organizations we hope you will consider supporting with your time, money, and/or talent:

4. Practice everyday activism

Everyday activism is the radical notion that everyone can play a part in ending violence and oppression by resisting rape culture, supporting survivors, and challenging our institutions.

Rape culture is built upon a series of pervasive microaggressions, acts that normalize sexual violence in our society such as objectifying, racist, transphobic, homophobic actions. We must counter rape culture in the same way — through constant, proactive assertions believing survivors and condemning the actions that constitute rape culture.

You can learn more about everyday activism here.

5. Find the intersection of where your talents meet an important need in our efforts towards equality.

Everyone has a role in countering sexual violence and advocating for gender equality. Beyond practicing everyday activism, we hope you will consider directing your talents towards these efforts. Whether you are an artist, a community organizer, an athlete, a carpenter, a social worker, a musician, or a professional volunteer, organizations like ours are constantly seeking folks with varying skillsets to assist with different initiatives.

You can learn more about volunteering with EROC and other organizations like ours here.

Happy International Women’s Day.
 

Sign the pledge. Commit to these 5 actions.

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Alexander “Bear” Goodrum: Black Trans Excellence

End Rape On Campus

Alexander “Bear” Goodrum was a Black disabled, bisexual transgender man, activist, and orator. Though known as an LGBTQ rights activist, particularly advocating for trans and gender nonconforming civil liberties, Goodrum also worked in each of these marginalized communities. Beginning his work in 1980, Goodrum was originally from Chicago, but made several moves to San Francisco and Tucson working as an activist for LGBTQ and social justice rights. Once in Tucson, Goodrum created, founded, and directed the TGNet Arizona, a grassroots transgender advocacy and resource center. He was also a board member of the Tucson GLBT Commission and the Funding Exchange’s OUT Fund, which provides grants  (one of which is named after Goodrum) to LGBTQ community organizing projects. Goodrum made himself well known within the Arizona LGBTQ advocacy community and was instrumental in creating meaningful change for LGBTQ individuals in Arizona.

In 1999, Goodrum was able to include his work on gender identity for a non-discrimination law. He is also well known for his groundbreaking work with the Arizona Transgender Workplace Project, an educational workshop for employers to foster inclusive and safe working environments and understand the needs, challenges, and rights of transgender and gender non-conforming employees and applicants. Goodrum published a number of papers and articles and is widely known for Gender Identity 101: A Transgender Primer, which is still published on the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance’s website. In September 2002, Goodrum died by suicide in a psychiatric hospital in Tucson. It is important this Black History Month that we continue to uplift Black activists who have influenced incredible change for marginalized Black communities. Similar to the other activists featured in this month’s campaign, Bear Goodrum was aware of the need to have an intersectional approach to social justice issues. We must follow his lead in creating inclusive spaces for trans and gender nonconforming folks, people with disabilities, and LGBQ members in order to ensure the liberation of everyone.

For more information on #BlackTransHistory and other historical Black trans men figures please visit: The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

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