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Press Release: Walk for Change Offers Opportunity to Show Up for Survivors amid #MeToo

Headshots of Jaclyn Friedman and Ayanna Pressley
Jaclyn Friedman (left) and Ayanna Pressley (right) will speak at BARCC's Walk for Change

BARCC’s 12th annual Walk for Change features keynote speeches by author and activist Jaclyn Friedman and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley  

The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s 12th annual Walk for Change will take place on Sunday, April 22. The Walk, which drew more than 1,700 participants last year, is the largest sexual violence awareness event in New England. The 2.6-mile walk, which follows a route along the Charles River, begins and ends at DCR’s Artesani Park in Brighton, MA. Check-in and activities begin at 8:30 a.m. Registration is $30 for adults, $10 for children, and $5 for dogs (who must be on leashes); fees increase by $5 the day of the event. The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center expects to raise approximately $230,000 from the event to support BARCC’s free services.

Kennedy Elsey, host of the Mix 104.1 Morning Show, will emcee a morning rally starting at 9:30 a.m., which will kick off festivities that include a photo booth, face painting, food trucks, lawn games, and other activities for all ages throughout the day.

Author and activist Jaclyn Friedman will give the keynote speech. Friedman’s latest book, Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All, shares the name of her podcast Unscrewed, which has been recommended to listeners by Marie Claire and Esquire magazines. Her 2009 book, Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, was named one of Publishers’ Weekly’s Top 100 Books of the year.

“Now is the time to turn the dialogue around #MeToo into action, and the BARCC Walk for Change is the perfect place to start,” said Friedman. “I’m really looking forward to coming together with and for survivors—and supporting and inspiring our communities to change the culture.”

Boston City Councilor-At-Large Ayanna Pressley will also speak to walkers, as she has for several years.  “The Walk for Change always provides a space for survivors to find understanding, belonging, healing. To say to someone, ‘I believe you’—there is nothing more loving and generous than that. And that is what BARCC does at this Walk and every day.”

BARCC offers free, confidential services to survivors of sexual violence—from the immediate crisis to years and decades later—as they navigate the health-care, criminal justice, social service, and school systems. BARCC maintains a 24-hour hotline and works with a wide range of organizations and communities, including high schools, colleges, police, health-care providers, and businesses, to advocate for change. BARCC also provides training in how to respond to survivors and create cultures that prevent sexual violence in the first place.

“The wave of #MeToo disclosures, and heightened public awareness about sexual violence, has sparked an unprecedented demand for our services,” said Gina Scaramella, BARCC’s executive director. “The funds that are raised at Walk for Change are critical to our ability to meet the needs of the community and to offer our services free of charge.”

Sponsors of this year’s Walk for Change include Ropes & Gray, Sherin and Lodgen, Uber; Bay State Milling, Bentley University, Boston IT Services, Goodwin, Goulston & Storrs, Harvard University Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response, Morgan Lewis, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Northeastern University, and Sidley; Berklee College of Music, Boston Medical Center, Brandeis University, C3—Commercial Construction Consulting, Inc., Curry College, Eileen Fisher, Emerson College, Execuspace Construction Corp., Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Isaacson, Miller, Mount Ida College, Partners HealthCare, Rich May P.C., and Riemer & Braunstein LLP.

Follow BARCC on social media: Twitter @barcc; Instagram @barccofficial; Facebook /barcc.org. And use the hashtags #BARCCWalk4Change and #ShowUpforSurvivors.

Facts about sexual violence

  • Sexual violence is any form of sexual interaction without consent (or permission). Consent means that you want to be engaged in whatever sexual behavior is happening. If someone is feeling pressured, coerced, manipulated, or threatened, that is not consent. If someone is incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol, that is not consent.
  • Sexual violence affects people of all genders, ages, races, religions, incomes, abilities, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Survivors often know the person who assaulted them. Sexual violence, which is significantly underreported, also takes many forms including rape or sexual assault; childhood sexual abuse and incest; sexual harassment; sexual exploitation and trafficking; unwanted sexual contact/touching; exposing one's genitals to others without consent; or masturbating in public.
  • About one in three women and one in six men in the United States have experienced some form of contact sexual violence during their lifetime. Nearly one in five women (18.3%) and one in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.
  • Almost one in two transgender people (47%) surveyed have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime, according to the U.S. Transgender Survey.
  • One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
  • People with a disability of any kind have an age-adjusted rate of rape or sexual assault that is more than twice the rate for people without disabilities, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey and the 2010 Massachusetts Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System.
  • One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

About the Walk for Change

The Walk for Change supports the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, bringing awareness and raising funds to end sexual violence. Since 2006, the Walk for Change has been held annually in April, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Each year, the event brings together a variety of people—survivors, friends and loved ones, students from area high schools and universities, community members, local corporations, and others—from Greater Boston and beyond to walk in solidarity with survivors and as part of the movement to prevent sexual violence. It also helps raise necessary funds for BARCC. Every year the 2.6-mile walk begins in Brighton and loops around the Charles River. Use #BARCCWalk4Change and #ShowUpforSurvivors to show your support and spread the word.

About Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC)

Founded in 1973, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center has a mission to end sexual violence through healing and social change. BARCC provides free, confidential support and services to all survivors of sexual violence ages 12 and up and their families and friends throughout Greater Boston. It works with survivors regardless of when the assault occurred, and its goal is to empower survivors to heal and seek justice. BARCC also works with a wide range of organizations and communities, including schools, colleges, and police, to advocate for change. It provides training in how to respond to survivors and create cultures that prevent sexual violence in the first place. Follow BARCC on social media: Twitter @barcc; Instagram @barccofficial; Facebook /barcc.org.

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Jessica L. Atcheson
As BARCC’s marketing and communications manager, Jessica L. Atcheson leads strategies to advance BARCC’s mission and raise its organizational profile. She develops, implements, and evaluates strategic communications initiatives in a variety of online and offline channels.Prior to joining BARCC, Jessica served as the writer and editor at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an international human rights nonprofit. She began her career in nonprofit communications at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, where she worked as associate editor. She has also earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in communication studies from Hamilton College, studied at Oxford University, and served as a survivor advocate through the AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program. She volunteers at the Network/La Red, which works to end partner abuse and support LGBQ/T survivors.

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