"NO MORE" Pledge Signing at LCCC
Victims Resource Center, the Domestic Violence Resource Center and Luzerne County Community College collaborated for a “NO MORE” pledge signing at the college.
From left, are: Danielle Kovaly, LCCC student; Patrick Rushton, outreach/education manager, Victims Resource Center; Kim Dyszlewski, Counseling Department, LCCC; Tammy Rodgers, education coordinator, Domestic Violence Service Center; Trish Dixon, volunteer, Domestic Violence Service Center; Hailey Murray, and Sedrick Austin, LCCC students.
As it stands now, reported by sexual assault awareness and engagement campaign NO MORE, 12.7 million people are physically abused, raped or stalked by their partners in one year. One out of every two women, and one in five men, have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lives the Rape Response Services reports. Also, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “One in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.”
In response to such statistics, on Luzerne County Community College’s main campus Thursday, April 14, 2016 volunteers worked to raise awareness and start the discussion on domestic violence and sexual assault. With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the event was part of the NO MORE campaign with the goal of starting the conversation to make a change by raising awareness and engaging bystanders to help end the violence.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports that every 107 seconds another American is sexually assaulted. NO MORE stands to become a symbol to help change those statistics. Pat Rushton of the Victims Resource Center said of the campaign by phone interview, “The NO MORE campaign is not about raising awareness of services. The NO MORE campaign is about prevention. And that’s what was important about it. It’s about the fact that, you know, all of us have a role in prevention.”
“The NO MORE campaign was really the first ever collaboration, between sexual assault prevention service agencies and domestic violence, where we collaborated on a common campaign,” Rushton explained. “It’s working together on a primary goal of preventing violence.”
NO MORE’s presence on television, with high profile people getting involved, was important and helped enable awareness to get down to a smaller, local level. Rushton spoke of ways that NO MORE has helped bring in attention from the public through its campaign. “I think something like that has helped aid small agencies like ours to be more in the public eye. Not about us — but about the work that we do,” he said.
Aside from its media presence with high profile people and ability to include the average citizen as an advocate with the use of social media, NO MORE is joint effort by everyone, including agencies. “The NO MORE campaign was really the first ever collaboration, between sexual assault prevention service agencies and domestic violence, where we collaborated on a common campaign,” Rushton explained. “It’s working together on a primary goal of preventing violence.”
Agencies have also utilized the campaign with their services. “We (the VRC) incorporate that concept of NO MORE into what we call “primary prevention” and primary prevention is preventing violence before it happens,” Rushton spoke. NO MORE was created to be a platform to end domestic violence and sexual assault. The organization believes that getting people to talk about and end the stigmas often accompanied with domestic and sexual violence will help fuel a boost in funding for direct services (like VRC), advocacy, and prevention. NO MORE is not a service provider, but a unifying symbol and campaign for awareness and prevention.
While it is early yet to tell of NO MORE’s impact and if the violence has decreased, Rushton spoke of the success he sees so far in the campaign. “I think where we’re seeing success now is that people are now saying that this is not a women’s issue, not a families issue, it’s something we all need to be a part of preventing. So I see success in it.”
Working for VRC, Rushton is a big purveyor to make a change and help end the violence. Rushton explained how NO MORE’s campaign helps change the mindset of involvement. “Violence against women is not just a women’s issue. It’s everyone’s issue. And the NO MORE campaign helped stress that.” What is also important, and being brought to light progressively is sexual violence against men. “One of the things they’ve done this year, I’ve noticed a little more extensively, is including violence against men, sexual violence against men as part of the NO MORE.”
With the conversation being started now, there is another task to work on -sustaining it. “I think they need to keep coming up with new ways to keep this in the public’s eye,” Rushton said. “It’s not a program. It’s not just a campaign. This has to be a part of everyday life. That sexual violence, domestic violence is not okay.”
By Danielle Kovaly
Luzerne County Community College Journalism 101
Live News Article