I Will End SV
This month the Your Voice, Our Future series launches on the SAAM Blog with a guest post from youth activist Erin McKelle.
I Will ESV was started by a group of young people from Cleveland, as a project of Scenarios USA (a national media and youth non-profit) with support from the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. We were inspired by the Scenarios USA film Speechless written by Roxanne Lasker-Hall, who was 16 when she wrote her winning story about a young male survivor of sexual assault. I Will ESV lives as a Tumblr blog, which takes “I Will” statements from people across the country. Our team is committed to giving a voice to young people and changing the narratives that exist around sexual violence.
Pictured: Erin McKelle, Roxanne Lasker-Hall and Scenarios USA Youth on the set of Speechless
The groundwork has to be set with young people in education about what healthy sexuality looks like, if we ever want to see a day where sexual violence doesn’t happen. Understanding consent, safety, communication, and respect are tools that all young people need to be equipped with. Sexual violence is so prevalent because of the silence that exists around it. That’s why starting these conversations and empowering young people to speak up is so important.
That’s why this year; I Will ESV is participating in Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year’s theme of healthy sexuality and young people is at the center of our work and our mission. So, we decided to reach young people where they’re at and start talking about what sexual violence is and what healthy sexuality encompasses.
We’ve put together a series of memes that all address some aspect of sexual violence and are focused on both activism and awareness. All of the topics feature a piece of factual information (like a statistic) and a resource that you can use to learn more, use for involvement, or share with others. We’re spreading these memes around social media and trying to reach as many young people as possible. We’re working closely with NSVRC, 1 in 6, and other prevention organizations to make this happen and ensure our work is as inclusive as possible.
So now the question is, what will you do to end sexual violence?
Erin is an activist, writer, and student at Ohio University, studying for a degree in Women and Gender studies. She has written for a variety of publications and worked for a variety of non-profits, including Everyday Feminism, Adios Barbie, and Stop Street Harassment. Erin divides her time between Athens and Cleveland Ohio, and enjoys reading, black tea, and HGTV.