Healing and Power through Activism
Student Survivor Toolkit: Download the PDF
Share your story, join forces with other survivors, demand change
For some, advocating for change alongside other survivors can be a powerful step in the journey toward healing. When survivors join forces to raise awareness, speak out, and demand change, it can make a big difference in the lives of other students and survivors.
Some survivors share their stories to raise awareness. Others support bills and public policies that help protect other students from sexual violence. And others share information on campus about how survivors can protect their rights in the Title IX process. These are great ways to connect with other survivors, help change the systems that caused you harm, and reaffirm your agency and power along the way.
Share your story
Equal Rights Advocates and other groups can help you share your story publicly. Whether you choose to write anonymously or include your name, we can help you share your experience on our website where other survivors can find it, or potentially in a media outlet with a wider readership. Sharing your story in your own words, without needing to explain yourself or compare to “the other side,” can be cathartic, validating, and empowering.
Some choose to share their stories to let other survivors know they’re not alone–that there are people out there who understand them. Some want to encourage other survivors to seek help, share resources with them, or tell them things they wish they had known before. Others share their experiences as a way to advocate for change, whether it’s public policy/laws, or broader culture change that asks people to reexamine how they think about sexual violence or treat survivors.
At Equal Rights Advocates, we help survivors to share their stories in a variety of ways, including writing an op-ed, column, or blog piece, or making a video. A story-sharing coach can help guide you through the process to accomplish your goals. To see other survivors’ stories, visit equalrights.org/stories.
Advocate for change
Organizations like Equal Rights Advocates are always trying to make the world a better place for survivors, and ultimately end sexual violence. We help write bills and advocate for them to become laws.
For example, in California we successfully passed the nation’s most comprehensive law protecting student survivors with a 2020 bill that will make it easier to report sexual violence, ensure survivors’ rights during the Title IX process, require school officials to complete trauma-informed trainings, and more. Student survivors were integral in getting this bill passed. Many called and emailed lawmakers, and shared the link so their friends could do the same. Others led the charge, testifying to California lawmakers about why the protections were needed. Some wrote pieces about the bill that were published in the New York Times and other newspapers.
We and other survivor organizations frequently have opportunities like this, with easy ways to contact lawmakers. Or if you are willing to get even more involved, you can help lead the fight for change to help ensure other students don’t go through what you experienced.
To keep up with the bills and other policies we’re sponsoring, sign up for our weekly Action Alerts at equalrights.org/join-the-action-team.
Let other students know their rights. Many survivors don’t know what to do next after being sexually assaulted or harassed. Our goal at Equal Rights Advocates is to provide clear answers to that question and make sure students know their options. You can help us do that by hanging flyers (that we provide) or passing out information on campus. The materials advertise the text-in number to our ENOUGH program (100% free and confidential), where student survivors can get information about their options and their rights from a legal advocate, and can receive legal representation throughout the Title IX adjudication process. If you want to get even more involved, you can host an interactive “Know Your Rights” workshop at your school with a template, presentation, and materials we provide.
For more information on how to get involved, visit equalrights.org/ENOUGH.