Futures without Violence Leverages Technology to Curb College Sexual Assault

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Nonprofit Launches “The OTHER Freshman 15” to Help Parents, Students, and Alumni Implement Change on Campus

Futures Without Violence (FUTURES) has launched a social action campaign called “The OTHER Freshman 15” to elevate awareness of sexual assault at colleges across the country, and enable concerned citizens to take action on social media and beyond.

It’s estimated that one in five women will be assaulted during her college years—jeopardizing their education, livelihood, and safety. “The OTHER Freshman 15” provides resources, tips, and an online tool which enables students, parents, alumni, and other concerned citizens to take action by emailing one of over 1,300+ college and university presidents.

The campaign puts a spin on the weight gain myth associated with incoming college freshmen, and highlights the urgency to curb sexual violence at schools across the nation.

“As a parent, I know that back-to-school season (the first 15 weeks) can be an exhilarating time for students,” said FUTURES Founder and President Esta Soler. “But I also know that all of these new experiences can put students in unfamiliar situations, potentially increasing their risk of sexual assault. This isn't something we often talk about at home or the public space—we want to change that.”

The “OTHER Freshman 15” goes hand-in-hand with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s forthcoming launch of a sexual assault awareness campaign called “It’s On Us” focused on engaging men in the prevention of gender-based violence.

FUTURES contributed to the recommendations released last April by the President’s White House Task Force to Prevent Students from Sexual Assault (Task Force) and works closely with a network of student activists and survivors, parents, campus administrators, legal experts, policy makers, and more to promote zero tolerance for sexual violence on college campuses.

“We’re at a crossroads,” said Soler. “We have to engage everyone—men and women—to play a role in changing the way our culture views sexual violence. In order to break the cycle of violence, we have to start by giving everyone a voice.”

Futures Without Violence
For more than 30 years, Futures Without Violence has led the way and set the pace for innovative educational programs, public action campaigns, policy development, and leadership training designed to end violence against women, children, and families around the world. Instrumental in developing the landmark Violence Against Women Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1994, Futures Without Violence has established an international conference center that will engage today’s diverse national and global leaders, stand with survivors, and continue working to break the silence around gender-based violence.

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Marsha Robertson
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