New short dramatises the plight of an unconscious sexual assault victim
Images of young women lying in beds or couches on the street passed out next to a sign that reads “If I can’t say no. I can’t say yes,” anchors the launch of an initiative created to underline the meaning of ‘no’ as it relates to sexual consent.
With the growing national outrage over light sentences in cases of sexual assault on campuses, KnowNo www.knowno.us launches today to provide clarity around sexual consent and spark the conversations parents, friends and young adults themselves need to have around this increasingly pervasive issue.
“While some people claim consent is a grey area, when you read the legal definition state by state, there’s really no greyness – it’s very clear. ‘No’ means ‘no’ at any point. Just as important, if a woman – or man – can’t say ‘no,’ due to intoxication, unconsciousness or any other reason, they can’t say ‘yes’ either. So, the answer again is ‘no,’ ” explains Stephanie Franke, Creative Director at MARC USA Chicago and KnowNo co-founder.
KnowNo is anchored by a brief video dramatising the plight of an unconscious sexual assault victim. It is set to the track of 'Till It Happens to You' by Lady Gaga and Diane Warren, who donated the use of the music to help spread the KnowNo message.
The website KnowNo.us includes a quick quiz where visitors can test their knowledge of consent, links to consent definitions by state and resources for victims of sexual assault. There’s also a call to action to take the quiz and post selfies with the hashtag #IKnowNo across social media channels. The initiative can be followed at @KnowNoProject on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Snake Roth, MARC USA Chicago Executive Producer and KnowNo co-founder, adds, “With 50 percent of campus sexual assaults taking place in the first three months of the school year, we wanted to start conversations when we can have the most impact – both for prevention and to help those already victimised. Sadly 80 percent of sexual assault victims never come forward or get help because they aren’t sure if they were at fault.”
The initial KnowNo video was shot in public locations throughout Chicago in July and elicited highly emotional responses from bystanders. MARC USA will conduct additional events on several campuses in September. However, Franke explains, “When we heard that Brock Turner is being released on Friday after serving just three months, we couldn’t wait a moment longer. We want to be part of the dialogue and help young men and women truly know ‘no’ so that they can make better decisions in situations that can have lifelong consequences.”
Roth describes KnowNo as a movement, not an organisation. “Quite simply, we asked ourselves if people understood consent, would they still make the same choices? Would a young person under the influence find the sense to stop? Would a victim realise it was not her or his fault, and report the incident? So, we are asking the country to help us spread the word.”
In addition to an extensive outreach campaign to social influencers, a PSA version of the video has been created and will be available for TV and digital use. A variety of out-of-home showings are also in the planning phase.
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