CAPPA LETTER OF SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT FOR SURVIVORS, ADVOCATES, PREVENTIONISTS, AND ENGAGED BYSTANDERS
Access letter in PDF format here.
The Campus Advocates and Prevention Professional Association (CAPPA) is dedicated to providing space for campus-based advocates and prevention specialists to come together to share their expertise, develop best practices, and support each other as professionals in the field. CAPPA envisions campuses free from all forms of interpersonal and gender-based violence, including dating and domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, and stalking.
In response to Brock Turner’s trial for rape and subsequent lack of accountability, CAPPA’s 15 member leadership council and our over 350 members from campus and community organizations across the country stand in solidarity with the survivor, her family and loved ones, the bystanders who intervened, the prosecutor, the advocates, our colleagues at Stanford University, and all others impacted. We hope that they are given the space and privacy to heal and move forward. We commend the bravery of the survivor for sharing her impact statement with the world and our heart goes out to all of the anonymous survivors whose voices she is amplifying with her powerful words.
CAPPA’s work is rooted in social justice, supporting survivors, and fostering communities that value evidence-based practice, practice-based research, and self-care. We believe that this case provides an important opportunity for dialogue. At the same time, many proposed action steps to address sexual violence hinge on increasing reporting to the criminal legal system. This survivor's words and experience beautifully illustrate the complexities of pushing survivors into a system that is not prepared to deliver accountability. Because of that reality, we recognize that simply talking about this more and sharing this survivor’s words can be emotionally draining, frustrating, and retraumatizing for survivors. While these opportunities for awareness and education are important, dialogue is not enough. We encourage people to take action by: connecting with community and campus advocacy and prevention centers to volunteer or help raise money; joining state coalitions and/or national organizations to access additional information and tips on how to support survivors and the movement to end sexual violence; contacting your organizational, local and state representatives about policies and laws that don’t hold offenders truly accountable or advance prevention; and being positive bystanders when you hear about or witness interpersonal violence or notice signs of a culture that perpetuates it.
We also want to emphasize the particularly critical need for self-care for survivors and secondary survivors personally impacted by sexual violence. We need spaces of healing and support that don’t require those who are marginalized and victimized to always be responsible for educating other people. For those experiencing their own feelings of trauma related to recent news, we encourage you to reach out to services in your community or contact the National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.
This issue also touches advocates and preventionists as we hold so many stories similar to this one. We can leverage moments of pain like this to change culture and systems, but that work is long-term and systemic. It is okay to take a step back, reach out to colleagues for support, and take care of ourselves in the best way possible. The people doing the work of culture change are such an important resource for our movement, and it is important that we sustain those change agents for the long haul.
This case is devastating because, as the survivor writes in her powerful letter, she is not an aberration. The case is but one part of a broader picture. As a community and as a culture, we must learn from this and do better moving forward by believing and supporting survivors, holding perpetrators accountable and combatting rape culture. We applaud the bystanders who stepped in and made a difference, the friends and colleagues sharing information on social media to support the survivor and call out injustices, and those who are using this moment to learn more and become proactively engaged in ending the pervasive cultural issue of sexual violence.
The CAPPA Leadership Council,
Katie Vance & Marianne Frapwell, Co-Facilitators
Lee Helmken & Shannon Collins, Membership Co-Chairs
LB Klein & Shana Ware, Professional Standards Co-Chairs
Connie Adams & Drew Rizzo, Networking Co- Chairs
Wanda Swan & Kelly Wilt, Communications Co-Chairs
Meg Bossong & Casey Malsam, Training Co-Chairs
Jill Dunlap & Marina Wood, Research & Practice Co-Chairs
Ellen Hartman, Legislative Advocacy Chair