Spotlight on SAFER

23 02 2009

The Vagina Monologues is this Friday in Distler at 7 and 9:30 (if you haven’t bought your ticket yet, buy it from Amy at the Women’s Center between noon and 3 pm any day) and the beneficiary organization is SAFER: Students Active for Ending Rape. I’m a big fan of SAFER and its work, but many people do not know about it. So here’s some information about / praise for SAFER, so you’ll be more in the know about the great cause your attendance at the Vagina Monologues is supporting.

SAFER originated as a student group in Columbia University in 1999 with the goal of reforming Columbia’s sexual assault policy. After a year of students recruiting, educating, organizing and mobilizing, Columbia adopted a new sexual assault policy with a revised and more efficient disciplinary procedure that had greater transparency and oversight, and established a new office devoted to sexual assault prevention and education.

SAFER’s victory at Columbia galvanized media attention and set the precedent for many other colleges nationwide, serving as a beacon of hope and encouraging students to take action on their own campuses. Students at other colleges across the nation began contacting SAFER for advice on how to improve their school’s sexual assault policies. Since then, SAFER has expanded into a national nonprofit organization devoted to helping student activists organize on their own college campuses to reform their school’s sexual assault policies.

SAFER provides resources and support to empower students with knowledge and skills to take leadership in reforming their school’s sexual assault policies. There are organizational training workshops, short term instructional programs that help students critique their school’s policy and teaches them how to effectively organize to transform it. There is also a campus activist mentoring program which pairs a student activists with an experienced organizer to guide them through the process of fighting and changing their school’s policy over a longer period of time.

These resources are available for free or charge a fee based on a sliding scale charge to accommodate different budgets of different activist groups. SAFER wants to be as accessible to all students and give them as much as it can while asking for as little as possible in return.

Tufts’ sexual assault policy certainly is flawed (as some may say, it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen) and some folks from SAFER are coming to conduct an organizational training workshop to help the newly formed Sexual Violence Student Advisory Board figure out what’s wrong with Tufts’ policy (we’ve already got plenty), changes to make to improve it and how to go about this (especially since the administration can be so frustratingly bureaucratic and conservative).

So in summation, go see the Vagina Monologues, SAFER is awesome, and we need to start thinking more critically about sexual violence on this campus, and it’s important to have an administration that is supportive of survivors.



One response

8 03 2009
A month of Gender Blending so far! « The Gender Blender Blog

[…] go to the Breast Cancer Fund and the remainder goes to an organization of our choice. We chose SAFER: Students Active for Ending Rape as our beneficiary organization. They received some of the proceeds from the Vagina Monologues but […]

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