The Champions for Change awards are given annually to recognize individuals and organizations who have made exceptional contributions to the fight against sexual violence,
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has earned the 2009 Champion for Change Award for their first in the nation outreach and public safety campaign regarding inappropriate sexual behavior on public transportation, which has achieved truly outstanding results - a 35 percent increase in reporting of these crimes to MBTA police.
As the first public safety effort of its kind in the United States, this campaign was unique because it focused on the behavior of perpetrators rather than that of victims. It emphasized to the public that the MBTA does not condone any sort of inappropriate sexual behavior - even though trains and buses may be crowded and assaults may not necessarily be severe in nature - and that all reports will be treated seriously and sensitively. It was a simple, but clearly revolutionary message.
Beyond the campaign itself, the MBTA’s assistance in increasing community awareness through posters on the trains has led many victims of sexual violence and their families to learn about BARCC and to come in for our free rape crisis services. Along with the obvious benefits to victims and families, this has further enhanced the public safety benefits of the partnership, because survivors who get help at BARCC are twice as likely to file a police report as the national average, which in turn increases the likelihood that perpetrators will be brought to justice.