The #MeToo movement is raising awareness around sexual violence, bringing the issue to a national conversation. On this episode of Comcast Newsmakers, Ebony Tucker, Advocacy Director of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
, discusses prevention efforts and training, funding, and instances of abuse among certain populations.
Traynham: The #MeToo movement is raising awareness around sexual abuse and violence, and while awareness is key, much more needs to be done to combat the problem. Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I´m Robert Traynham. Joining me to discuss prevention efforts is Ebony Tucker, advocacy director of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Ebony, welcome to the program.
Tucker: Thank you.
Traynham: You know, it´s great that we´re having this conversation. In my opinion, it´s great that we´re raising awareness about this very important issue. But what else -- It´s great that we´re having the conversation, but talk is cheap. Let´s talk about the action behind the talk. What is the action?
Tucker: I think for us, we´re seeing this now as the perfect time to really fortify our prevention efforts. So we offer prevention programming for kids, mainly middle-school and high-school age. What we want to do is really stave off the behavior before they´re coming into college, where we´re seeing more incidents of campus sexual assault, before they´re becoming adults and into the workplace, where we´re seeing sexual harassment, sexual misconduct. So if we can really get the prevention education that these kids need, then we think that we can make a difference in how they´re growing up.
Traynham: Curious -- you mention kids, and you mention schooling. How are the parents involved in that? Are they comfortable with their kids having this conversation? Or is there a little bit of resistance there?
Tucker: You know, I think that that´s changed quite a bit in the last several years, I mean, especially since the #MeToo movement has become much larger. But even before then, I think we were seeing, you know, 10, 15 years ago, parents being a little hesitant about kids talking about sex in school, talking about sexual assault, specifically in consent and those issues. And I think, especially when we saw more attention being paid to the campus space, then we had a lot of parents saying, "I really want my kids to know these things before they get to that age." So, we got a lot more support for it.
Traynham: Ebony, who is most at risk, and who is most vulnerable, in terms of the prevention but also the assaults?
Tucker: Yeah, so I think when we´re seeing people who are assaulted, we´re seeing women of color at very high rates -- African-American women, Native women particularly at high rates, as well. And then we´re seeing people who fall into the intersections. So, for instance, trans women have high rates, but, specifically, trans women of color. We´re seeing that more. So people who have fewer resources, people who may have had not as great of relationships with the criminal justice system, marginalized communities. We´re seeing that they are much more vulnerable to sexual assault.
Traynham: You know, it´s interesting you say that, Ebony, because the #MeToo movement, as I mentioned before, is really raising awareness about that, and based on what I´ve read, a lot of the women seem to be in high-profile positions. And what I mean by that, in the context of a high-profile producer or perhaps someone around power, if you will. Am I misreading that?
Tucker: No, I don´t think you are. I think that that´s not what the #MeToo movement was originally intended for. -
Tucker: I think that it was originally intended for black women and other women of color to have a space to come together and say, "This has happened to me, too, and we are not invisible".
Traynham: I see.
Tucker: And I think that in an effort to bring larger attention to the issue of all women, of all survivors, and mostly women, I think that that has been given the frame of women who have a much higher-profile job, more often white women. But I think that it´s happening to all women, and so, we really have to think about this and be really inclusive of women of color and those who fall in the intersections.
Traynham: We got about a minute left, Ebony. I need to talk about the funding for prevention. And where does that come from? Is that government grants? Is that the nonprofit sector? Where does that -- Is it a combination of both or more?
Tucker: Yeah, so we have a lot of government grants for funding or for prevention. We have the Rape Prevention and Education Program, which is funding that goes out to rape crisis centers and states, to go to schools and after-school programs, to do prevention education with middle and high-school kids. And so, this has been an excellent program, but we´d really like to see it being funded at a higher level so we can actually meet the needs of the schools, the school districts, and all the parents who want that now.
Traynham: Ebony, for the teacher that´s watching, for the loved one that´s watching, the parent, the neighbor -- whomever it may be -- if they would like to get more information about your program or just, quite frankly, just educate themselves about the #MeToo movement, where can they go?
Tucker: It would be great if they went to endsexualviolence.org. They can also go to raliance.org, which is a great national collective working on ending gender-based violence in one generation.
Traynham: Ebony Tucker, with the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, thank you very much for joining us. -
Tucker: Thank you so much.
Traynham: And, of course, thank you for joining us, as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I´m Robert Traynham.