November 8, 2017
Dear survivors, students, parents, and allies,
After almost five years, the time has come for me to move on from End Rape on Campus.
It’s been hard to encapsulate everything that's happened and what it's meant to me in words. To be honest, it hasn't hit me yet that I'm leaving. Holding schools accountable for sweeping sexual assault under the rug has defined each day of my life since I was 19.
I never imagined that what started out as a scrappy band of student activists and recent college grads would grow into a non-profit with a full-time staff of five. Amongst my proudest moments are spearheading Yes Means Yes for California colleges; helping survivors file civil rights complaints and launch federal investigations into their colleges in a myriad of states, including Virginia, California, Alabama, and New York; traveling thousands of miles nationwide -- and to Australia! -- to speak to stakeholders about the movement; and bearing witness to incredibly moving and important moments for survivors, like being at the Oscars with 50 survivors and Lady Gaga in 2016.
I’ll always remember how I felt when I saw the map of all the schools in this New York Times article. I frantically started skimming the piece for names of people I could add on Facebook so I could tell them, “OH MY GOD, WE JUST PASSED A BILL IN OUR STUDENT GOVERNMENT AGAINST OUR SCHOOL. IT’S HAPPENING HERE TOO.” For so many of us in this space, that’s how we got started -- we read each other’s stories. We reached out on social media. We held our schools accountable to federal laws and tried them in the court of public opinion.
I am now 24, and it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life. I am leaving my options open for now, but I am particularly interested in movement building, media framing, and communications. I will maybe go to law school. I will definitely do some writing.
Thank you for believing in the vision of student survivors across the country to make our campuses safer. What we all have achieved is nothing short of extraordinary, and I’m so thankful for each person who has supported us. It's been a privilege to work with people as dedicated to the rights of survivors as those I have been fortunate enough to meet in this movement, and I am so excited to see what’s in store for EROC’s next chapter.
Again, thank you for all of your work and support -- it means more than you know. If you would like to stay in touch with me (please do!) you can visit my website at sofiekarasek.com and follow me on Twitter @sofierkarasek.
End Rape On Campus Co-Founder & Former Director of Education
Sofie Karasek is a movement builder and media strategist. When she was a 19-year-old at UC Berkeley, she co-founded the national non-profit End Rape on Campus, where she and a band of scrappy student survivors transformed campus rape from a PR blip to a national scandal, brought Yes Means Yes into the mainstream, and were branded as a "well-funded Death Star". She was also featured in The Hunting Ground film and Lady Gaga's 2016 Academy Awards performance.
Sofie now trains community organizers how to harness storytelling and new media to ignite public support for progressive legislative and cultural change. Her current interests include transforming voting from a privilege to a right, make legislators value actual lives more than clumps of fetal cells, and prevent the climate crisis from washing away the home she grew up in. (And convincing Americans that salty licorice is the best).