Dear Engaged Bystander:  For SAAM (Sexual Assault Awareness Month), the NSVRC is beginning a new project to collect stories where bystanders said something or did something. 
 

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Dear Engaged Bystander: I know that to really change our culture around bystander enagement, we can not do it alone. In fact, it makes no sense for me to write about bystander engagement in isolation – it violates the very spirit and values we need to break the isolation of sexual violence. So I have been looking for ways to have other voices in this blog and this week, I wanted to feature the new blog by BARCC (the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center).  The video blog about racism make an essential point for our movement as well. 

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Dear Engaged Bystander:  I had the chance to talk with Lauren Sogor who showed, very concretely how it is often the little things that cause the shifts we need in our society.  Here is what she had to say: 
 

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Dear Engaged Bystander:  I read a wonderful quote recently about the importance of stories:
 
“Telling stories is as basic to human beings as eating. More so, in fact, for while food makes us live, stories are what make our lives worth living.”

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Dear Engaged Bystander:  If you have not read the book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Some Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, it is well worth your time to at least take a look. You can also hear an interview on the Today Show  or NPR's Morning Edition. Some say that it is going to be the next book to read after The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. 
 
 

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Dear Engaged Bystander:  The front page of the Sunday NY Times had a story titled “Rethinking Sex Offender Laws for Youths Showing Off Online.”    There is so much to say on this issue. 
 

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Dear Engaged Bystander, A friend just sent me the NY Times article about a 15 year old girl who was physically attacked in Seattle while four security guards looked on and did nothing. The video is astonishing, but  I decided NOT to post it here – you can easily find the YouTube link within the NY Times article.   
 

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Dear Engaged Bystander: I love this campaign by the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs. The message is simple, positive, and engaging. Ending Sexual Violence Takes All of Us. What will YOU do? 
 
In our advocacy work, we often talk about what not to do. It makes sense that this is our approach when we are trying to stop sexual violence. 
 

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Dear Engaged Bystander:  I had the chance to talk with an incredible activist last week, Cassandra Thomas.  She shared her perspectives on why she cares so deeply about the bystander issue.  I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed having the chance to talk with her.  Warmly, Joan 
 
Why were you willing to be our first interview? (And thank you for doing that!)

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Dear Engaged Bystander: Here is the background on the case… The Munich Archdiocese of the Catholic Church recently acknowledged mishandling of a sexual abuse case while the pope served as the archbishop there.  In this case “H” was convicted of sexually abusing minors, given a suspended sentence and ordered to undergo therapy. Shortly thereafter, he was allowed to resume pastoral duties, perpetrating further abuse, before being arrested again.  See the NY Times article about this case.  
 

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