April 15, 2013
Launched in March, UniteWomen.org’s Unite Against Rape campaign has already collected a wide array of celebrity endorsements. Roseanne Barr, Margaret Cho, Meghan McCain, Sandra Fluke, Jane Pratt, Alexandria Goddard (the Steubenville Blogger), Ronnie Cameron, Courtney Love, Dr. Gilda Carle, Yuri Lowenthal and Olympian Andrew Reyes have signed on to participate, as have many other writers, actors, women’s rights leaders and everyday men and women. Now, both of Virginia’s U.S. Senators have also joined UniteWomen.org’s fight against sexual violence.
“The purpose of the campaign is to eradicate the shaming and blaming of rape victims,” said Patricia Gil, Executive V. P. of Operations at UniteWomen.org. “Unite Against Rape was conceived to honor survivors who feel they carry a stigma of rape. With the recent trial in Steubenville fresh in the minds of Americans, UniteWomen.org decided to publicly stand in solidarity with Jane Doe and millions of other rape survivors. We wanted to give them the means to share their voices.”
Karen Teegarden, President of UniteWomen.org, explains, “What the cases of Jane Doe of Steubenville, Rheah Parson, Angel Rehtaeh and millions of others have in common is they not only deal with vile physical violations of rape, but also an epidemic of bullying and shaming the victim. Our Unite Against Rape campaign has garnered hundreds of submissions in only three weeks and is only one voice in trying to change the rape culture in which we live. So many individuals, groups and organizations have joined in creating awareness of this epidemic…together we WILL make a difference!”
UniteWomen.org is posting these quotes denouncing rape, incorporated into graphics with the photo of each person who submitted, on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/UniteWomen) and their website (www.UniteWomen.org). The Unite Against Rape campaign is ongoing and will also feature videos, PSAs, as well as guest blog pieces.
Sarah Warfield Murrill, UniteWomen.org’s National Director of Creative Development, noted, “Many of the submissions have been from survivors who are ready to shed their shame and publicly condemn rape culture. It has been an emotional journey for us to read their stories. The flood of entries highlights the need to give rape survivors this forum. The more survivors we post, the more submissions we receive. The posts really seem to be striking a chord in people.”
That includes Senators Warner and Kaine. “We solicited the participation of legislators and celebrities to amplify awareness,” said Shannon Fisher, National Director of Public Relations for UniteWomen.org. “We need to increase the public’s understanding of the epidemic of rape in our culture. This conversation desperately needs to happen – both in public and in private. ‘Unite Against Rape’ isn’t just a slogan; it is a theme that must permeate society in order to alter the collective apathy towards rape. As a Virginian, I am immensely proud that my two Senators were the first to join our fight against sexual violence.”
“I stand united against rape because freedom from sexual violence and coercion is a human right. Too many individuals in Virginia, in America and around the world have experienced or been impacted by sexual violence. That’s why I cosponsored the reauthorization of The Violence Against Women Act, which could provide crucial resources and protections for victims. However, it’s clear there is still more to be done.” United States Senator Mark Warner
“I stand united against rape because no victim of sexual violence should feel alone or hopeless. As Governor, I worked to eliminate outdated laws that discriminated against victims of sexual violence. We also increased services for women and men who have experienced such crimes and supported community organizations that do important work to curb these offenses. I was proud to vote for and cosponsor the Violence Against Women Act in the Senate this year and pledge to continue the fight against sexual violence in Virginia and across the country.” United States Senator Tim Kaine
MEDIA CONTACT: Requests for graphics from the Unite Against Rape campaign, or any questions, should be directed to Shannon Fisher, National Director of Public Relations at Public.Relations@UniteWomen.org or 804-404-2284.
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