Greeks Against Sexual Assault

Greeks Against Sexual Assault works towards increasing awareness, educating, and eliminating sexual assault and dating violence
from the Greek community through peer education and activism amongst sororities and fraternities nationwide.

About Greeks Against Sexual Assault

The University of California, Davis has operated the Campus Violence Prevention Program (CVPP) since 1979.

In an effort to further target the Greek community, GASA was created through CVPP in the spring of 2007. A class was developed and all Greek chapters were encouraged to have a representative enroll. The first class in the fall of 2007 had 16 representatives who were educated on the facts about sexual assault and the resources available on campus. The final project for the class was for each representative to go back and present their new knowledge to their own chapters.

Due to the enormous success of the pilot program, the class will be offered on a bi-annual basis and we look forward to sharing the program with many campuses in the coming months.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010



Erin Burrows,
Campus Accountability Project Coordinator,
(347) 465-7233,

Susan Celia Swan
Managing Director, Communications,
(917) 865-6603,


Project Celebrates One Year Anniversary on December 1st;

Launches Winter Break Challenge

New York, NY, December 1, 2010—College students are taking action to hold their schools accountable for making their campus communities safer. Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) and V-Day are proud to announce the success of the first year of student submissions to our online database of sexual assault policies from schools across the country. In an effort to publish 400 policies by May 2011, SAFER and V-Day are launching the Winter Break Challenge to further build the Campus Accountability Project (CAP) Policies Database as a tool for student-led movements to reform sexual assault policies. Currently, the CAP database houses 130 policies in an online, public and searchable database which details what colleges and universities are doing to prevent, reduce and respond to sexual violence on campus.

CAP publicly recognizes the successes of some schools’ sexual assault policies while also identifying gaps in others. Preliminary results show that an overwhelming majority (75%) of schools in the database provide 24-hour crisis services to survivors as well as security measures like campus blue lights and escort services. Policies are also largely inclusive of a diverse community—92% use gender neutral language and ensure access to resources for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, race or ethnicity. However, while 72% of the schools offer primary prevention programs to address the root causes of sexual violence, only 9% mandate student participation in such programs. Also, a mere 7% of schools in the database include a drug and alcohol amnesty clause for survivors of sexual assault and only 62% allow for anonymous reporting. Because fears of retaliation and feelings of shame and guilt are often barriers to reporting an assault, it is crucial that more schools adopt amnesty clauses and provide confidential and anonymous reporting options for survivors.

Beginning December 1, 2010, V-Day and SAFER are encouraging students to participate in the Campus Accountability Project during their winter break.The Winter Break Challenge asks students to register at and submit their school using CAP’s easy, step-by-step policy review form. We’re also asking students to encourage their friends and fellow activists at other schools to submit to CAP. The database is utilized by student activists looking to make positive change on their campus, and also provides us with a wealth of information on the best and worst practices in sexual assault prevention and response at schools across the country. Only students can submit to CAP, but anyone can access the database by registering for free. You can help kick-start real change on campuses nationwide by sharing this information and posting the Facebook event and Why Policy video on your wall and blog today!


SAFER is a volunteer-run organization that has been training and supporting student activists for a decade. We offer comprehensive programming to support student-led movements for campus sexual assault policy reform. In addition to the CAP policies database, our website houses the Activist Resource Center, an online library of tools for organizers. We also run a national, in-person trainings program to help students kick-start policy reform campaigns and offer ongoing mentoring via the Activist Mentoring Program, (AMP!).

About V-Day

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works. In 2010, over 5400 V-Day benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $75 million and educated over 300 million people about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, reopened shelters, and funded over 12,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic Of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. In 2001, V-Day was named one of Worth Magazine's "100 Best Charities" and in 2006 one of Marie Claire Magazine's Top Ten Charities.

A Letter from a Prosecutor to a Young Woman

***This article was originally published here***

A Letter from a Prosecutor to a Young Woman

Dear Elizabeth:

I don’t see what more you could have done.

As you well know, reporting sexual assault is a remarkably difficult act. It is deeply emotional, terrifying for many reasons, unpredictable and often thankless. You may not have known while you were alive that the great majority of sexual violence is simply never reported to authorities. But you did report it, quickly and comprehensively. I’m in awe of your courage.

I can only imagine how difficult it was for you in particular, Lizzy. You were a 19 year-old college freshman who had struggled with depression; a lovely young woman who had just started studies again after a difficult first year. But you made it to St. Mary’s, an excellent, close-knit school and one situated along with Notre Dame in the heartland of Catholic education. Arriving in this environment from a strong Catholic background must have been an incredible and hard-won joy for you.

But I’m sure it also made it infinitely more difficult to come forward and report what happened on the night of August 31. Being sexually assaulted at a place like Notre Dame and by a member of its football team- the very beating heart of the school for many- is an act that would have silenced most. Few things are more difficult to come to terms with than being attacked in a dorm room by a football player on one of the most venerated sports campuses in the world. The idea of telling anyone must have been horrific, especially as you were just settling into a new school, a new semester, a new season of hope. I’ve spent a career learning how hopes like that can be destroyed in the space of moments, and it never gets easier to hear.

Still, you faced down your fears and took action. You told your friends and wrote down what happened that very night. You went to campus police the next day. Despite the fear of being portrayed as God-knows-what and the fury that might rain down on you for reporting against a football player, you reported anyway. Despite the discomfort of an invasive physical examination, you endured one. Despite the fear and exhaustion that comes with entering counseling in order to fully recover from such an attack, you did that, too. You did everything that could possibly have been asked of you.

That’s why I’m trying to understand why Notre Dame, the world-class, excellent institution where you were attacked, has reacted the way it has. I don’t know why campus police didn’t turn over a case file to the St. Joseph’s County prosecutor’s office until just several days ago- after your case became national news and your hometown paper began demanding answers. Nor do I understand what’s behind the school’s refusal to release police records regarding what they know about what happened to you- even to your parents.

Finally, and most disturbingly, I don’t know why the man you reported against has played an entire season of football. While it’s true that he is and should be considered innocent until proven otherwise, his privilege to play football isn’t in any way related to his legal rights as a citizen. The fact is, you reported swiftly and completely a serious crime to the proper authorities that control his ability to play, and you followed through with evidence collection, counseling and cooperation. Yet still they have chosen to refuse to even acknowledge your complaint, let alone bar him from playing at least until the investigation is completed. This despite your death. Coach Kelly won’t state whether he’s even spoken to the player you identified. He’s quick to remind us that he stresses respect for women in his program, is a father himself, and wants “the right kind of guys” on his team. Well, the player hasn’t been benched in three months; from this we can fairly deduce that Coach Kelly supports him as someone who is “the right kind of guy” and worthy of wearing the uniform. If that’s so, why won’t he give his reasons?

The sad fact is there’s an ocean of ignorance out there regarding what happened to you, Lizzy. Many who are watching the case unfold are repeating over and over again the meaningless mantra that that we must all “Remember Duke Lacrosse.” It’s because many believe, with nothing to back it up, that women regularly accuse men falsely of sexual assault, and especially athletes. They’re happy to extrapolate one example of a false accusation to every possible situation, despite the mountain of evidence suggesting that women just like you endure what you endured day in and day out, usually in numbed silence.

Even worse, some just don’t think that sexual assault is nearly as important as college athletics, and they’ll sacrifice the vindication of a budding, brilliant life like yours in a flurry of nonsense that will trivialize your suffering and ruthlessly twist reality. They’ll call it regret. They’ll call it a misunderstanding. They’ll call it anything but what it is, and they’ll ensconce and defend the man who did it so he can simply do it again. So even the prompt, thorough complaint you made and the investigation you participated in until your death wasn’t enough to bench a football player for a few games until some evidence came to light, one way or another.

But as you know, there are also wonderful people both at Notre Dame and at St. Mary’s. Both are beloved, respected schools for a reason, and I know you felt and still feel that. To the heroic staff from St. Mary’s Belles Against Violence who worked with you and actually found you before you died, I hope you smile on them from where you are and bless their work.

I believe in a loving God, Lizzy. Although I’m a Catholic as you are I don’t believe He punishes those tortured enough to take their own lives, and I’m confident that you’ve reached a plane of existence that will give you not only blessed relief but also infinite understanding. So I guess this letter is more for me than for you; you have the answers now.

Still, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t know you in this life, and for what it’s worth l would have been honored to work with you to see the case against your attacker proven. I would have had much to go on, given the dedication you showed to pursuing justice and the courage you summoned to do what most of us wouldn’t have dared. Thank you.


© 2010, Roger Canaff. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Minimize, Deny, and Blame

This post was originally written by Ashley in Media published on the SAFER blog...but it was so good we decided to repost it here!

I worked for a year as the facilitator of a group intended to create a sense of accountability in guys who had abused their partners. We talked about a lot of things with the men: male privilege, the importance of consent in sexual relationships, and the definition of abuse among them. But more than probably anything else, we talked about the universal trinity of rationalizations for abusive behavior. Any abuser will use these three behaviors in some combination. The behaviors are: minimizing, denial, and blame. So, we would begin every group by going around the room and asking the guys to describe how they had come to be court ordered to attend the group. They would tell their stories, which would go something like this: “What I did wasn’t really that bad, and I didn’t do it. Besides, she asked for it.” With luck, by the end of their sessions with us, they could describe what they did more accurately, and take responsibility for their behavior. Every time one of the guys tried to minimize or deny his abusiveness, or claim that he was provoked into it by either his partner or some combination of outside influences beyond his control, we would call him out on what he was doing and ask him to correct his statement.

When I hear the song “Love The Way You Lie,” it brings me right back.

Now remember, Rihanna sings the chorus, but Eminem wrote it. That means that the chorus is also from the perspective of an admitted abuser. So let’s try a little experiment. Let’s see how many times we can find the abuser’s trinity in this song:

[Chorus - Rihanna:]
Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that’s alright because I like the way it hurts
(Minimizing and Blame: “It’s not really that bad, and besides, she likes it.”)
Just gonna stand there and hear me cry
But that’s alright because I love the way you lie
(Minimizing and Blame)
I love the way you lie
(Minimizing and Blame with emphasis and a catchy hook)

I can’t tell you what it really is
(Denial: I am intentionally obfuscating how abusive I am.)
I can only tell you what it feels like
(Blame: My uncontrollable feelings caused by other people did it, not me!)
And right now it’s a steel knife in my windpipe
(Blame: My anger! If only I had the ability to express it in a healthy manner. Alas, I am an automaton whose actions are dictated by biologically uncontrollable supertough manliness. Look at my biceps.)
I can’t breathe but I still fight while I can fight
(Blame: While I have no self-awareness on this subject, patriarchal masculinity dictates that I should always be in control, and that I should have no feelings other than anger. Therefore, when I feel vulnerability of any kind in my relationship, I must express it by attempting to gain control over my partner through abusive behavior. This is in fact a complex series of emotions, but I experience them only as rage. I then blame my partner for inciting my rage, despite the fact that it is my own insecurity that created it. I claim to be ashamed of my anger, but actually I am a little proud of it, because it shows how manly and in control I am. Look at my biceps.)
As long as the wrong feels right it’s like I’m in flight
High off of love, drunk from my hate,
(Blame: Anger! Biceps!)
It’s like I’m huffing paint and I love it the more I suffer, I suffocate
And right before I’m about to drown, she resuscitates me
(Cycle of abuse honeymoon crap)
She fucking hates me and I love it.
(Blame: She provokes me.)
Wait! Where you going?
“I’m leaving you”
No you ain’t. Come back we’re running right back.
(Blame: I abuse her because she won’t leave me. She won’t leave me because she enjoys the abuse. Her fear that I might kill her has nothing to do with it.)
Here we go again
(Blame, and interesting pronoun use.)
It’s so insane cause when it’s going good, it’s going great
I’m Superman with the wind at his back, she’s Lois Lane
(Minimizing: But I treat her very well when I am not beating her up.)
But when it’s bad it’s awful, I feel so ashamed I snapped
(Minimizing: I am again not telling you exactly what I did, because if I clearly explained what my abusive actions were, you might say, “Wow, that is messed up.” Plus Blame: I “snapped,” and had no control over my actions.)
Who’s that dude? I don’t even know his name
(Blame with a capital B)
I laid hands on her, I’ll never stoop so low again
(More cycle of abuse honeymoon crap)
I guess I don’t know my own strength
(Minimizing, Denial)

[Chorus - Rihanna:]
(Blame Blame Blame
Blame Blame Blame

You ever love somebody so much you can barely breathe
When you’re with ‘em
You meet and neither one of you even know what hit ‘em
Got that warm fuzzy feeling
(Look, I got you flowers!)
Yeah, them those chills you used to get ‘em
Now you’re getting fucking sick of looking at ‘em
(This is an abusive statement. It is actual abuse of my partner, in a song about abuse. Meta!)
You swore you’d never hit ‘em; never do nothing to hurt ‘em
Now you’re in each other’s face spewing venom in your words when you spit them
You push pull each other’s hair, scratch claw hit ‘em
(Denial and Blame: The abuse has become a “fight,” in which both partners are equally aggressive. In fact, the majority of abuse does lead to self-defensive violence from victims. This is not the same as a “fight.”)
Throw ‘em down pin ‘em
(Rare moment of honesty)
So lost in the moments when you’re in them
It’s the rage that took over it controls you both
(And we are back to Blame.)
So they say you’re best to go your separate ways
Guess if they don’t know you ’cause today that was yesterday
Yesterday is over, it’s a different day
Sound like broken records playing over but you promised her
Next time you show restraint
You don’t get another chance
Life is no Nintendo game
But you lied again
Now you get to watch her leave out the window
Guess that’s why they call it window pane
(I appear to take responsibility, but instantly return to narcissism rather than true contemplation of the damage I have done to another human being. This reveals that I am again engaging in false contrition/honeymoon behavior rather than expressing meaningful self-awareness.)

[Chorus - Rihanna:]
(Blame. Also, I would like to imply that rape is sometimes enjoyed by the victim without directly making such a reprehensible statement.)

Now I know we said things, did things that we didn’t mean
(Minimizing and Denial)
And we fall back into the same patterns, same routine
But your temper’s just as bad as mine is
You’re the same as me
But when it comes to love you’re just as blinded
Baby, please come back
It wasn’t you, baby it was me
(Aren’t the flowers pretty?)
Maybe our relationship isn’t as crazy as it seems
Maybe that’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano
(Minimizing and Blame)
All I know is I love you too much to walk away though
(Veiled threat)
Come inside, pick up your bags off the sidewalk
Don’t you hear sincerity in my voice when I talk
I told you this is my fault
Look me in the eyeball
Next time I’m pissed, I’ll aim my fist at the drywall
Next time. There won’t be no next time
I apologize even though I know its lies
I’m tired of the games I just want her back
I know I’m a liar
If she ever tries to fucking leave again
Im’a tie her to the bed and set this house on fire
I’m just gonna
(Overt threat)

[Chorus - Rihanna:]
(Blame: Considering that a direct threat was just made on the victim’s life, it is interesting that I am ending this song by emphasizing her unwillingness to leave. And by “interesting,” I mean, “blaming the victim.”)

You may also notice that the video has a theme. The theme is: “she started it, I only hit her because of the alcohol, and abuse is very sexy.”

If Eminem were in my group, I’d ask him to start his story again, this time taking responsibility for his actions. Unfortunately, Eminem is not in my group. He is a multi-platinum recording artist who won multiple MTV Video Music Awards tonight. That this implies something important about our culture should be obvious.

Check out the video here...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others. - Audrey Hepburn

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fighting Sexual Violence on Your Campus: Why Your School’s Sexual Assault Policy Matters

This guest post was written by Sarah Martino from Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER).

Making waves can seem intimidating. Although a lot of students recognize the need for change in regards to sexual assault on the campuses, many don’t know where to start, how to make the biggest difference, or don’t consider themselves to be activists and shy away from getting involved. For the past ten years, Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) has been making the case for campus sexual assault policy reform as an important and accessible way for students to change how their schools prevent and respond to sexual violence. We work with students to organize policy reform campaigns on their campus, offering them guidance as they attack the issue at the institutional level and make sustainable change that will help future classes of students.

But let’s back up and talk policies—what’s in them, and why do they need to be changed in the first place? All colleges and universities (who receive federal funding) are required by the Clery Act to have a written policy on sexual misconduct that is available to all students. At SAFER we believe that sexual assault policies should be thorough enough that any student could pick one up and know exactly how a school defines consent and sexual assault; what their options would if they wanted to report an incident of sexual assault; what services would be offered to them and how to access them; and how a disciplinary procedure would work if they chose to pursue one/were accused of sexual misconduct.

Not many schools have policies that live up to our list of what makes a better sexual assault policy, however. Consequently, students don’t receive comprehensive sexual assault prevention education; victims of rape and sexual assault are not given the support they need; and disciplinary procedures are handled poorly by untrained staff, lack due process, and students found responsible for rape aren’t appropriately sanctioned. The Center for Public Integrity’s recent report on campus sexual assault highlighted a lot of these issues, with distressing findings.

I’d like to encourage students, at the very least, to find their school’s sexual assault policy—which should be on the school’s website and/or in the student handbook—and see what’s in it. And then I ask that you take the extra step of becoming part of SAFER and V-Day’s Campus Accountability Project (CAP). The CAP asks students to review their school’s policy using our student review form that asks a series of yes/no/and fill-in questions meant to assess the policy’s strengths and weaknesses. Once submitted, your policy analysis will be reviewed by SAFER staff and included in our Campus Sexual Assault Policies Database, a collection of policies from across the country meant to be a resource for student activists and an important tool for holding school’s accountable for supporting their students and keeping them safe. If you are unhappy with your school’s policy, you can check out our Activist Resource Center for more ideas on how to make change or bring a SAFER training to your campus. (Note: to access the database and resource center, you’ll need to register for our website. But it’s free!)

Your school’s sexual assault policy not only governs how sexual assault is dealt with on campus, it is also the only constant guidance on the issue—students graduate, and even though one year there may be a lot of sexual assault related activism, it might not last, and with each new class comes the need for education and discussion. This is why we place so much value on student activism around policy. You have the opportunity to ensure that future classes of students will enter more supportive and responsive environment. Go for it, and let us know if you need help.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

3 years later....

This month marks the three year anniversary of GASA's creation at UC Davis!

Since then so many great things have happened and there will be more to come.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Date Rape is a Crime, not an "Incoherent Concept"

This guest post was written by GASA Advisory Board Member Joseph Vess.

Date Rape is a Crime, not an "Incoherent Concept"

American U. article and its media coverage distort, confuse the issue

The recent opinion column in the American University student newspaper and its ensuing media coverage fail to accurately represent the reality of sexual assault on college and university campuses. Rape is not an “incoherent concept” for the estimated one in four college women who will be raped by classmates, boyfriends, friends or dormmates during their college career. Many of the college and university men that Men Can Stop Rape works with in Men Creating Change chapters nationwide are engaged around the issue precisely because they have seen firsthand the devastating effects of sexual assault on women they care about.

Sexual assault is the fault of the perpetrator—no one else. A woman who drinks too much at a party, or goes to a certain party, or goes home with a certain guy is never to blame because that guy made the deliberate choice to rape. Rape is still a felony, and it is never the fault of the survivor. In nearly every state, someone who is intoxicated cannot even legally consent to sex. Blaming women for bringing it on themselves and overblown claims about women who “cry rape” the next morning are time-worn concepts, used the world over to legitimize rape by men who benefit from its impact on women. The line of consent is never blurry, except for those who distort it to condone sexual assault.

Sexual assault prevention efforts must focus on those who commit sexual assault, and the vast majority of those perpetrators are men. They are still a minority among men however, leaving many more men who are opposed to rape, who speak out against it, and who challenge other men to end violence against women. Rather than focus on the tiny percentage of false reports (estimated by credible studies to be between 2-8 percent, similar to other violent crimes), these men focus on the real problem—the millions of women who are our mothers, sisters and daughters; our wives, girlfriends and friends; our classmates, co-workers and fellow service members—who are sexually assaulted every year.

But clearly, not enough men are speaking up as lies, misrepresentations and victim-blaming continue to be the norm in popular coverage of sexual assault. Yesterday, April 1, marked the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. There is no better time for individuals, especially men, to learn how they can stand up, be strong and take action to prevent sexual violence.


Men Can Stop Rape’s Men Creating Change program mobilizes college and university men across the United States to challenge sexual assault and other forms of violence against women on their campus and in their community. For more information, please contact Joseph Vess, Director of Training and Technical Assistance, at or Joe Samalin, Campus Strength Coordinator, at

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sexual Assault Awareness Month – One Thing Men Can Do

Guest post by Ben Atherton-Zeman. Ben is a feminist, actor and husband living in Maynard, MA in the United States. He is the author of the one-man play, “Voices of Men” and can be reached through his website,

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every two minutes in the United States, a man rapes a woman – and it’s usually a woman he knows. Those of us who know victim/survivors of sexual violence know the toll it takes on them - yet there continue to be numerous examples in our popular culture of blaming rape victims, glorifying rape culture and apologizing for rapists’ behavior.

This year, Sexual Assault Awareness Month seems to be starting with two such examples. An American University article newspaper column berates women who "cry date rape after you sober up the next morning..." A video game profiled on CNN puts the gamer in the position of rapist - the gamer gropes, molests and then rapes a teen girl in a subway station in order to win the game:

No, this is not an April Fool’s joke. Anti-rape activists won’t be surprised by these latest examples of rape culture, nor by their tired justifications (“it’s just a game, feminists are anti-sex and have no sense of humor”, etc.). Neither the game nor the victim-blaming column are unique – both basically are a restating of traditional misogyny and male supremacist beliefs.

What is exciting to me is the immediate, almost universal anger and condemnation of both by the online feminist community. Videos can go “viral” and so can activism – Facebook status updates and emails from across the world are condemning both. Women are writing with boldness and outrage – men are writing that this is not just a “woman’s issue,” calling for men of conscience to speak out against rape and rape culture. And even though the CNN article states that it’s only “women’s groups” that oppose the rape game, it turns out that men are (finally) speaking out in greater numbers – speaking out against rape and rape culture.

One example is the new Facebook group, “Ten Thousand Men Supporting Women’s Anti-Violence Groups.” Inspired by Pat Eng of the Ms. Foundation for Women, this Facebook group encourages men to donate money or time to their local rape crisis center, domestic violence program, or national anti-violence group.

Ms. Eng delivered a keynote address at the first National Conference for Men’s Anti-Sexist Groups last year – during her keynote, she encouraged male aspiring allies to “show, not tell” their commitment to ending gender-based violence by making a financial donation to such groups. Most of these groups, Eng argued, are facing budgetary emergencies because of the economy – men can help by making a simple donation. The concept made sense to some male attendees, who contacted Eng and started the group. So far, it has just over 1000 members, at least some of whom have made donations to both their local groups and the Ms. Foundation.

My friend Matt belongs to our Boston chapter of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism He told me, “if women make 78 cents to every man’s dollar, shouldn’t we men tithe 22 cents for every dollar we make?” Agreed – and what better place to send that money than our local rape crisis center!

Another good reason for men to donate is the fact that most rapists are men. But most men are not rapists - those of us who oppose rape and rape culture can no longer remain silent. And money, even a small donation, is a wonderful way for us to support our local rape crisis center.

Facebook users of all genders are encouraged to join the Ten Thousand Men group at Then invite your Facebook friends – specifically, those male friends who don’t normally do this kind of work. Even if they can give $5 or $10, it helps – and it may be the first step in what becomes a lifetime involvement.

Outrage and organizing against sexism and rape culture is also not new – whether face to face or on the Internet. But I’m impressed and hopeful about the use of the Internet and social networking to organize an articulate response to these latest outrages. Perhaps if people of all genders raise our voices in this manner, some day rape will not happen every two minutes – it’ll happen hardly at all.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

“I believe in pink, I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.” — Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Here's the interview I had with Chick Speak!

Battling Sexual Assault: Spotlight on Kingsley Grafft, GASA Founder

n3217305_41144138_677.jpgShe was eighteen and accepted into the college she always wanted to attend. She arrived on campus as a bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed freshman, ready to embark on a new journey and start a new adult life.

But something was off.

She didn’t fit in. She didn’t feel like she could make friends. She felt alone and trapped. She didn’t like her classes, her roommate was difficult to get along with, and she felt like she had made a huge mistake in choosing a college. In a desperate attempt to make friends, she traveled to a different university nearby to visit a high school friend.

After a few drinks, she joined her friend at a fraternity party where she was greeted with a warm welcome, and more alcohol then she had ever imagined. After guzzling down a few more cheap-labeled beers, making chit-chat and new friends, things started to become hazy. She vaguely remembers being led up a flight of stairs, but her memory goes blank in an instant.

The next morning, she woke up next to a naked man she didn’t know who he was; she was without panties and without a recollection of what happened the night before. With tears and fear both streaming inside and outside her body, she made her way back to her friend’s dorm room. Back to a friend who left her at the party with a man she doesn’t even remember his name.

She would later visit the emergency room without her family’s support, end a relationship with a boyfriend who promised to stand by her side through anything, and switch schools to get away from panic attacks and uncomfortable confrontations.

Her whole life changed in an evening.

What happened to one of my closest friends is not uncommon. In fact, it happens all the time and especially on college campuses. While it’s terribly sad, sexual assault and rape statistics are only growing, and women are primarily the victims.

Efforts to end sexual assault crimes are however, on an upward trend. Organizations like Greeks Against Sexual Assault (GASA) are trying to raise awareness and help women to become more educated on what sexual assault is and how they can prevent it from happening to them or to someone they love.

Kingsley Grafft, founder of GASA, took some time to sit down with ChickSpeak and share some valuable insight into what sexual assault is, how to team up with GASA and how to protect yourself and every chick you know:

ChickSpeak: What is Greeks Against Sexual Assault (GASA)?

Kingsley Grafft: Greeks Against Sexual Assault is a national organization that words towards increasing awareness, educating, and eliminating sexual assault and dating violence from the Greek community through peer education and activism amongst sororities and fraternities.

CS: Where did you come up with idea and inspiration for GASA?

KG: As an intern with the University of California, Davis’ Campus Violence Prevention Program in the spring of 2007 I was given one task: find a way to get sororities and fraternities involved with sexual assault and domestic violence prevention on campus.

One thing led to another and I came up with the idea of GASA as a quarter long class. After doing some research I found that Colorado State University had a similar program and contacted them for more information. In the fall of 2007, GASA was taught for the first time and was a huge success. Things seemed to just spiraled from there and eventually I was able to transform GASA into a national organization with the help of some amazing individuals.

CS: What are the top three things college women should be aware of about sexual assault?

KG: 1. It can happen to anyone and if it happens to you it is never your fault. Be compassionate to the survivors you know.
2. College women are most likely to be assaulted by someone they know.
3. Always look out for your friends. You will never regret or think ‘what if’ after speaking up if you see a potentially dangerous situation.

CS: What is your goal with GASA?

KG: My goal with GASA continues to be to educate and provide resources to as many people as possible. If I can make a positive impact in the life of one other person, then GASA will have been a success.

CS: How can college women become involved with GASA?

KG: If college students are interested in becoming involved with GASA they can visit our website. There they will find our syllabus and curriculum. Also, on our website are a variety of options for how to create GASA on their individual campuses.

CS: How can young women personally raise awareness about sexual assault?

KG: Speak up. Talk about the issue with your friends, talk about what it means to have a healthy relationship. Rape and sexual assault are such depressing issues and too often people avoid bringing them up in conversation.

But, in order to eliminate these problems we have to speak up. Talk to your parents, siblings, classmates, friends, sorority sisters, fraternity brothers, girlfriends, boyfriends, professors, and anyone else who will listen. This issue has impacted so many people on a variety of levels. By speaking about the issue we can work together to raise awareness and come up with innovative prevention techniques.

While speaking up, we can also learn to be excellent listeners. Sometimes people just want someone to listen while they tell their own story. As listeners, it is important to remember that we do not have to have all the answers, but it is our responsibility to help that person find the resources he or she needs.

CS: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

KG: Over the next several years I hope to become a middle school or high school English teacher in California. Eventually I want to get married and have a family of my own. GASA will continue to exist as long as it is making a positive difference and people are benefiting from the organization. Where GASA will go, and how it will continue to grow is still up in the air.

CS: What other organizations do you work with to help with sexual assault awareness?

KG: The members of my Advisory Board are involved with a variety of companies, organizations, and universities. We all work together to promote sexual assault awareness. While I was in middle school and high school, and since I’ve been home from college I’ve been volunteering with STAND! Against Domestic Violence in Northern California.

CS: At ChickSpeak, we’re always looking for new music and movies to fall in love with. What books can’t you put down right now? What’s the last song you downloaded on iTunes?

KG: I love Jodi Picoult books and cannot wait for her new book to be released in March! And I just downloaded Breakeven by The Script.


Lindsay Tigar is the Editor-at-Large for ChickSpeak and hopes every chick will all she can do to raise awareness and protect herself and other chicks against sexual assault.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Guest Post: Lessons from Greek Days

This guest post was written by Spenser Tang-Smith. Spenser is in charge of operations at WebGreek and writes for WebGreek's blog, discussing issues in the Greek community.

This weekend, the WebGreek team participated in not one, but two “good causes.” I’m not telling the world about this because we’re super-mega-awesome and you should love us (although we are and you should). I’m telling the world because I was impressed by how much can get done by a few dedicated volunteers, and how enjoyable it can be.

As Greeks and as college students, we learned that service is a necessary part of belonging to a community. Everyone belongs to a number of different communities, from family to social group to school to geographic region and even up to the global community. No matter which communities one identifies with, it is important that they serve those communities. At some point, everyone has benefited from the actions of others, be it Mom, or the study group, or the fraternity. It is only fair that we help when we can.

On Saturday, we volunteered at the Greater Bay Area Make-a-Wish Foundation’s largest annual fundraising event, Wine and Wishes on Treasure Island. The food and wine tastings were provided by the top restaurants and wineries in the Bay region, showcasing some of the highlights of our amazing local culinary culture. The evening took place in what used to be a Pan Am hangar on what used to be a naval base, and the whole room was transformed into a beautiful hall full of food, wine, and people 18 years old to 80 years old in their celebratory finery.

The amount of work it takes to convert a hangar into a venue to put on this event is staggering, but a handful of industrious helpers were able to clean up the entire place in under an hour. I was particularly impressed by how well-organized the event was, but even more by the sincere desire of every volunteer to make a difference. People assigned to parking helped to empty trashcans; auction helpers cleaned the volunteer area; and everyone helped haul trash and leftover ice out the back door. All the while we had fun doing it, shooting the breeze with other volunteers and playing the “who can throw the trash bag into the dumpster from the farthest away” game.

The lesson here is that fun and service are not mutually exclusive. This was proven again on Sunday, when we helped set up the 1st Annual Jog for Jill to benefit the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. It was a beautiful day, and the turnout was fantastic! Over 900 Greeks, parents, friends and children ran, jogged, or walked the course as it wound around UC Berkeley’s campus. The number of people who came out and supported on the weekend was fantastic, and the event has helped raise over $37,000 so far, with many more events scheduled for this year.

We had a great day. We met many of the ladies from KKG, and had a blast schmoozing with our fellow joggers during the leisurely run through campus. The race finished at the Bear’s Lair campus brew pub, where 10% of the proceeds from the after party also benefited the Foundation. Needless to say, it was also fun to help the cause by watching the Super Bowl and eating hot dogs!

There is much that needs to be done, and all it takes is to look around and decide to make a difference. Every little bit helps. For every Martin Luther King Jr., there are thousands of people marching, going door to door, or advocating behind the scenes. Even if you’re not an organizer-type, you still have something to offer: you can paint signs, you can print flyers, you can march and speak and tell your friends. You don’t have to be famous to make a difference.

In many ways, community service is like being an entrepreneur: you must first find a problem to solve, and then you must go about solving it. Kingsley found a way to address the problem of awareness of sexual assault in the Greek system, and GASA now has chapters on several campuses. She’ll tell you it was hard work, but she’ll also tell you that it was more rewarding than it was difficult.

If sexual assault is an issue that speaks to you, then there are plenty of opportunities for yourself or your circle to get involved. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so take a look here to see what opportunities are available for you to volunteer for. This year the theme is preventing sexual assault on higher education campuses…does that sound relevant? One of my close friends became a crisis counselor and has learned valuable skills, as well as having gotten a very poignant look at the human side of this issue.

Fundraisers and office volunteering are also great ways to help. Since the recession, state budgets have been drastically cut (don’t even get me started on California), and as a result, many shelters and counseling centers have had their funding reduced. They need help to be able to keep providing help, and if you can’t contribute money, most organizations can always use a little help around the office.

One thing college students have more than most people is free time. Finding a way to use that free time is easy. All you have to do is ask.

Friday, January 29, 2010

may this new year be a great year.

My grandma forwarded me this email and I am going to try and do more of these this year...

Handbook 2010

1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything..
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Last but not the least:
40. Share this with the people you care about.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Guest Post for GreekForMe

Check out the guest post I just wrote for GreekForMe:

Greeks Against Sexual Assault, by Kingsley Grafft

by greekforme on January 21, 2010

We recently had the pleasure of meeting Kingsley Grafft, Founder and National Director of Greeks Against Sexual Assault, and she wrote the following guest blog post for us. Sexual assault on college campuses is quickly becoming an epidemic, and with Kingsley’s passion and dedication to educating others about the issue, we can work to help prevent the growing number of sexual assault victims. Kingsley is an exemplary member of Kappa Alpha Theta, and we know her commitment to helping others will only further her future success!

Greeks Against Sexual Assault, by Kingsley Grafft

Becoming a member of the Greek community on your campus is an amazing opportunity. I know that my four years of college would have been far less exciting and entertaining without my sorority sisters, philanthropy events and fraternity parties. And certainly my wardrobe would have been much smaller without my letters, sweatpants, and t-shirts to accompany every event.

During my sophomore year I interned with University of California at Davis’ Campus Violence Prevention Program (CVPP). When I started, I was given one task: get Greeks involved and educate them about sexual assault and domestic violence.

So I began my research and was shocked at what I found.

• 1 out of 4 college women is sexually assaulted
• 50% of sorority women experience some form of sexual coercion
• 10.3% of college rapes happen in a fraternity house
• 90% of sorority women who are sexually assaulted know their assailants
Sources: Copenhaver & Grauerholz, 1991; Fisher, 2000; Warshaw, 1994.

I really believed that Greeks were simply unaware of these statistics; otherwise, they would be doing something to eliminate the problem and provide support to survivors. So in the spring of 2007 I founded Greeks Against Sexual Assault with the hope that I could pass along the information I had learned, and inspire others to make a difference on their own campuses.

The mission statement is this: Greeks Against Sexual Assault works towards increasing awareness, educating, and eliminating sexual assault and dating violence from the Greek community through peer education and activism amongst sororities and fraternities nationwide.

All it takes is a few Greeks to spread awareness and get their campus involved. I’ve been amazed by the programs Greeks have developed nationally and have seen the positive impact they can have. For more information visit us at or check out our blog at

Check out their blog at

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What are you doing for others?

Hopefully you got to enjoy having yesterday off from work and/or school. I enjoyed sleeping in, catching up with old friends, and even plowing through some school work. Last week in the class I am student teaching we read an article about Martin Luther King Jr. as we were gearing up for the holiday. The article was from SCOPE magazine which is published by Scholastic and is an amazing resource for helping improve literacy skills. I was struck by this quote on the back cover:
How do we speak up about the things that matter in our lives? What could we all be doing more of?

Yesterday my calendar had the following quote from Martin Luther King Jr: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

So I ask you, What are you doing for others? Find what you're passionate about and do that.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Year, New Look, New Feel...

Happy New Year!

With the start of 2010, I decided it was time for the blog to have a little face-lift along with my twitter site (

This year there will be lots more blog posts: mostly written by me, but some of my friends will be making guest appearances as well.

The content will be changing slightly. Although the focus will remain Greeks Against Sexual Assault, sexual assault, domestic violence, and healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, there will be an added personal flair to my writing. Since Greeks Against Sexual Assault is only one of my passions, a few of my others might pop up from time to time as well.

Hope you enjoy...