Best of Neighborhood News 3/14: Minneapolis Park Board looks to build memorial honoring survivors of sexual violence

Following in the wake of the #MeToo movement and heightened visibility for sexual assault survivors, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board is considering funding a memorial in Boom Island Park. Break the Silence, a local group of survivors and allies, is seeking the Board’s support for the construction of the memorial, and commissioners have voted to explore funding options. “The memorial concept holds true to what we have seen nationally, that when survivors tell their stories they unconsciously give other survivors permission to tell theirs,” [Sarah Super, Break the Silence organizer] told the board. Find more details on the prospective project at The Journal. Native theater company debuts first full production

Turtle Theater Collective, a Native theater company based in Minneapolis, debuted their first full length production on March 9 at The Southern Theater. Continue Reading

House considers uniform sexual assault policy for state’s colleges and universities

 Courtney Blake said the first time she was sexually assaulted, it took her more than a week and a half before she could muster the courage to report the incident to University of Minnesota authorities.“I was afraid of confirming what happened to me,” the university student told the House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee on Tuesday. She supports HF742, which would require public and private universities and colleges across the state to enact uniform sexual assault prevention, reporting and victim support policies.Rep. Marion O’NeillSponsored by Rep. Marion O’Neill (R-Maple Lake), the bill would also mandate that such policies on sexual harassment and sexual violence apply to incidents occurring at activities, programs, organizations or events sponsored by post-secondary institutions.Approved by the committee, the bill was sent to the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee. Its companion, SF1300, sponsored by Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), awaits action by the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.The bill would require postsecondary institutions to create an online reporting system through which students may report incidents — including anonymously — of sexual harassment and sexual violence. Blake said such a reporting tool would go a long way toward helping victims of sexual assault to take the important step of telling someone.Schools could not sanction students who make good faith reports of sexual harassment or violence for violating the institution’s student conduct policy on drugs and alcohol.A provision that would require new students to take a course on sexual assault prevention within 10 days of beginning class is included in the proposal.The bill strikes an important balance in ensuring accountability on behalf of colleges and its students without being overly burdensome to college campuses across the state that vary in size and resources, said Joelle Stangler, president of the University of Minnesota Student Association.“This really does support victims by making sure postsecondary institutions are doing all they can to work with law enforcement agencies to address this topic and provide resources,” Stangler said.Other provisions would require the following from all public and private postsecondary institutions recognized by the Office of Higher Education:comprehensive training on preventing and responding to sexual violence to campus security officers, campus administrators, and individuals responsible for receiving reports of sexual assault;a memorandum of understanding must be entered into with local law enforcement that details procedures for responding to allegations of sexual assault;collection and reporting a number of different pieces of data about sexual assault on campus.restricted access to the data collected through the online reporting system;a requirement that students complete an online training on sexual assault prior to registering for class;development and implementation of a policy that requires student health providers to screen students for incidents of sexual assault; anddesignation of an existing student health worker as a confidential advocate  Continue Reading

No means no: New prevention efforts shine light on sexual assault risks college women face

Beth* thought Brian* was sweet – a little shy – but trustworthy. She knew from her parents to look for men who respect women. But when he got her alone, near their University of Minnesota campus, he began to push too hard, too fast. He didn’t stop when she asked him to. He didn’t seem to care when she said no. She realized what was about to happen, and her brain shut down.

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Keith Edwards: Men can end rape

For Hamline University alumni Keith Edwards, rape wasn’t always a concrete definition. While at Hamline as an RA, he kept hearing stories from women of men hurting them. At first he resisted that rape was really a problem, but now Dr. Edwards is a national speaker when it comes to ending it.On Nov. 11, Edwards presented at Hamline for Men Ending Rape, an event that aims to raise awareness of sexual violence by specifically targeting men, and educating them in ways to better prevent rape and change rape culture. The event was organized by the Hamline student congress.“We talk about rape on who it’s happening to, but not who’s doing it,” Edwards said. Continue Reading

Hamline’s Take Back the Campus focuses on sexual violence and privilege

There’s a time to speak out and a time to shut up. That was the message being spread at Hamline University’s Take Back the Campus last week.The university’s Women’s Resource Center hosted the event on Oct. 21 with the goal of including a diverse group of speakers and performers. Informational tables and a line up of a wide range of speakers were aimed to rally against all forms of gender violence and opening a dialogue about how to better prevent sexual assault.“Creating a culture of respect that celebrates and requires affirmative consent and positive sexuality is hard work,” said Cards Against Harassment founder Lindsey. “It means shutting up that voice once in a while and letting other people talk about their experiences.”Lindsey, who keeps her last name private to protect her professional career, designed and printed business cards that she would give to cat-calling men in downtown Minneapolis. Continue Reading