HealingSPACE hosts events throughout the year to raise community awareness about sexual violence and prevention.
National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), which takes place each year in April, raises public awareness about sexual violence and educates communities on how to prevent it. During SAAM, YWCA Bergen County’s healingSPACE hosts a series of events calling on individuals, communities, and the private sector to be part of the solution by taking action during and beyond SAAM to create the cultural shift necessary to eliminate sexual violence once and for all.
In 2016, SAAM celebrated its 15th anniversary with the theme “Prevention is Possible” to help individuals, communities, and the private sector understand how they can take action to promote safety, respect, and equality to stop sexual assault before it happens.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Ramapo College of NJ
505 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah, NJ
5:00 to 7:00 pm
April 4 through April 8, 2016
Dwight Morrow High School
274 Knickerbocker Rd, Englewood, NJ 07631
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
1 Bergen County Plaza, 1st Floor Lobby
4:00 to 6:00 pm
This powerful display was designed to raise awareness about the impact violence has on the community, featuring t-shirts created by survivors of personal violence, including sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, child abuse, and murder. Bergen County Executive James Tedesco and Board of Chosen Freeholders members joined YWCA Bergen County’s healingSPACE staff as they unveiled the month-long clothesline display.
Monday, April 11, 2016
Ramapo College of NJ
505 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah, NJ
6:00 to 9:00 pm
Take Back The Night was an empowering speak-out and march with the purpose of unifying women and men in awareness of sexual and relationship violence. Together, we empowered survivors to share their stories and seek to end sexual assault, domestic and dating violence.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Bergen Community College
400 Paramus Rd, Paramus, NJ 07652
9:00 am to 4:00 pm
A morning screening of The Hunting Ground was followed by a panel discussion and afternoon workshops.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Friday, April 22, 2016
River Dell High School
55 Pyle St, Oradell, NJ 07649
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Hackensack University Medical Center
30 Prospect Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
505 Ramapo Valley Rd, Mahwah, NJ 07430
A screening of The Hunting Ground was followed by a panel discussion with members of Title IX committees from Ramapo College and Bergen Community College as well as advocates from YWCA Bergen County’s healingSPACE.
Pascack Brook County Park
150 Emerson Road, Westwood, NJ
9:00 am Registration – 10:00am Step Off
For many years, both the Center For Hope And Safety and YWCA Bergen County’s healingSPACE have been helping women deal with the trauma of domestic and sexual violence as well as providing the practical, emotional, and psychological support needed for survivors to begin the healing process and carry on with their lives. These organizations are making a difference in the lives of women. All proceeds from the Walk were shared by Center for Hope and Safety and YWCA’s healingSPACE. www.zontanvnj.org/RAVEWALK
The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent it. The focus of 2015 SAAM was to support campuses in creating a culture of prevention and effective, trauma-informed response. YWCA Bergen County’s healingSPACE 2015 SAAM initiatives included The Traveling Clothesline Project, Denim Day, and Ramapo College’s Rally to End Rape Culture and It’s on Us Public Service Announcement.
In prior years, SAAM events have included local library displays with recommended readings, teal ribbon displays, a white ribbon campaign for men, poster campaigns, and art and poetry readings and displays.
Week Without Violence is a signature initiative created by YWCA USA over 20 years ago to mobilize people in communities across the United States to take action against all forms of violence, wherever it occurs. Each year in October, YWCAs around the country host local Week Without Violence events and create robust public dialogue about violence.
Week Without Violence is part of a global movement to end violence against women and girls with the World YWCA. This year, we are focusing on ending gender-based violence. Gender-based violence recognizes a spectrum of violence, including but not limited to, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and harassment. At YWCA, we know that not all violence is acknowledged or responded to equally and that some victims go unrecognized altogether. We invite you to join us from October 17 – 21 as we share information, elevate stories, talk with policymakers, and get out the vote with a common goal in mind: together, we can end gender-based violence.
The Week Without Violence™ is a signature initiative created by YWCA USA nearly 20 years ago to mobilize people in communities across the United States to take action against all forms of violence, wherever it occurs. Each year, YWCA’s around the country host local Week Without Violence™ events and create robust public dialogue about violence. 2015’s Week Without Violence™ initiative focuses on Domestic Violence. Click here for more information and resources on domestic and sexual violence.
Community supporters of YWCA Bergen County’s healingSPACE host Traveling Clothesline Project Exhibits throughout the year. These powerful displays are designed to raise awareness of the devastating impact violence has on the community, featuring hundreds of t-shirts created by survivors of personal violence, including sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, child abuse and murder. Creating shirts promotes healing by providing survivors with an avenue to break the silence of their victimization, and allows others insight into their personal experience.
On April 30th, 2015, Bergen Community College’s Green Dot Action themed Clothesline Project was held in Paramus, NJ. Felician College hosted an April 13th Clothesline Project in the Quad of their Lodi, NJ campus 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on April 16th, Becton High School and on April 8th, Farleigh Dickinson University held a private Traveling Clothesline Project for their students.
The 20th Annual Bergen County Clothesline Project was held on September 18, 2013. View our photo gallery here.
In 1990, a group of women in Cape Cod, Massachusetts wanted to develop a program that would educate their community and bear witness to violence against women. This small group of women, most of them survivors themselves, wanted to find a very visual display to help the community understand the staggering impact of violence. Moved by the AIDS quilt, one woman decided to hang t-shirts on a clothesline to represent one type of violence committed against women. The clothesline seemed appropriate, as doing laundry was (and often still is) considered a “woman’s job”. Domestic and sexual violence were also considered private family matters, and victims were often told not to air their “dirty laundry.” The concept is simple: survivors create shirts to be displayed on the line, expressing themselves using words or artwork. This action serves multiple purposes: it acts as an educational tool for those who view the shirts, creates a vehicle for healing for the person creating the shirt, and lets those who are still suffering know that they are not alone. Clothesline Project events are now held in almost every state in the U.S. as well as in countries across the globe. HealingSPACE has held its own Clothesline Project for 20 years, using over 1,800 t-shirts to create this moving and powerful display. We continue to honor survivors and their courage to heal, to break the silence of sexual violence, domestic violence, and murder, and to bear witness to the journey many embark on after victimization.
Denim Day is an annual movement each April designed to empower and support survivors of sexual violence. Wearing jeans on Denim Day has become an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. Community members can show their support by wearing jeans to work or while out in the community.
One way to help raise awareness about sexual violence is through Denim Day. Never heard of Denim Day? Here is a brief history…
Denim Day History
In Italy, an 18-year-old girl is picked up by her married 45-year-old driving instructor for her very first lesson. He takes her to an isolated road, pulls her out of the car, wrestles her out of one leg of her jeans, and forcefully rapes her. Threatened with death if she tells anyone, he makes her drive the car home. Later that night she tells her parents, and they help and support her to press charges. The perpetrator gets arrested and is prosecuted. He is convicted of rape and sentenced to prison.
He appeals the sentence. The case makes its all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. Within a matter of days the case against the driving instructor is overturned, dismissed, and the perpetrator released. In a statement by the Chief Judge, he argued, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”
Enraged by the verdict, within a matter of hours the women in the Italian Parliament launched into immediate action and protested by wearing jeans to work. This call to action motivated and emboldened the California Senate and Assembly to do the same, which in turn spread to Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, and Denim Day in LA was born. The first Denim Day in LA was in April 1999, and has continued every year since.
YWCA Bergen County’s healingSPACE was the first sexual violence program in New Jersey to bring Denim Day to our home state in 2007. In 2009, Denim Day became a statewide official day of recognition on April 28th.
Denim Day in the Community
Throughout the month of April we offer companies, organizations, and schools the opportunity to participate in Denim Day by hosting events that highlight this issue. Schools invite healingSPACE staff to provide workshops and to create denim patches with positive messages of consent and healthy relationships. To inquire about bringing Denim Day to your school, call 201-881-1751. For ideas about hosting your own Denim Day activities, download the Denim Day Toolkit for Schools.
Dollar$ for Denim
One way for companies and organizations to get involved is through the Dollar$ for Denim campaign. HealingSPACE offers the opportunity for organizations to “make a social statement with their fashion statement” by inviting employees to wear jeans to work in exchange for making a small contribution. They can take a stand against sexual violence and support healingSPACE’s ongoing work. For more information about Dollar$ for Denim, please call 201-881-1751 or download the Denim Day Toolkit for Companies & Organizations.
Writing and artwork have always been helpful to many in the healing process, as well as a way to cope with the abuse they are currently experiencing or have experienced in the past. HealingSPACE archives artwork created by survivors and is able to display it through the “Art of Healing” event. If your school or organization is interested in displaying this artwork, please call us at 201-881-1755. Individuals are also welcome to donate their poetry or artwork.