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Cassandra Clifford
Executive Director and Founder of BTFF

Monday, October 7, 2013

Paving the Way for Collaboration

In 2012, the CDC reported that 19% of undergraduate women experienced either attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college, making this a matter in need of drastic action. September was National Campus Safety Awareness Month, and PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment hosted a National Campus Sexual Assault Summit at Georgetown Law on September 27th. The summit, which was also broadcast live to more than 300 colleges, forms part of the Safe Campus, Strong Voices campaign, a partnership between PAVE and the Clery Center for Security on Campus.

Male survivors, Title IX legislation, and the interests of the underrepresented (such as the LGBT community) are some of the themes that were expertly covered by the speakers. The summit succeeded in bringing together an interesting array of contributors, from academics, to activists and survivors. The following speakers led the discussions:

  • Angela Rose, Survivor and Activist, and Founder of PAVE 
  • Laura Dunn, Survivor and Activist, PAVE
  • Wendy Wyler, Survivor and Activist
  • Nancy Chi Cantalupo, Research Fellow at Victim Rights Law Center and Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown Law
  • Jen Luettel Schweer, Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Services Coordinator, Georgetown University
  • Chris Anderson, Executive Director, MaleSurvivor 
  • Anya Lakner, National Training and Policy Attorney, American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence 
  • Rhett Walker, Sexual Assault Prevention Specialist and Former Campus Training Coordinator, Men Can Stop Rape 
  • Tim Stephens, Alumnus and Former Inter-Fraternity Council Vice President for Judicial Affairs, Delta Tau Delta and George Washington University 
  • Sarah Rice, Survivor and Activist, and Former Star of The Real World: Brooklyn 

The PAVE summit highlighted that there is a strong need for collaborative action in order to reach a larger audience and represent all survivors. It is clear that the survivor community has many faces. One often makes the mistake of associating sexual assault with women, omitting the large number of male survivors, as well as other underrepresented groups who often find it harder to come forward or even seek help after being assaulted. A united front that brings together all of these perspectives and interests is most certainly a step in the right direction. In the past few years, PAVE has lived up to its name in not only promoting awareness, but also empowering victims. Its founder and sexual assault survivor, Angela Rose, has established herself and the organization as a beacon of hope for survivors. The BTFF team gained a lot of insight on assault specifically on campuses at the summit. This is especially useful as we have just started our Violence Prevention Program, which is aimed at mentally and physically preparing individuals for a surprise attack

BTFF Executive Director, Cassandra Clifford, with fellow Krav Maga
Instructors, Mike Coffin (left) and Mike Burkhouse (right). Mike Coffin
is also the PAVE's Board President.

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