Talia Wahl: Activism Against Sexual Violence

**WARNING** This profile includes themes of sexual violence. Please only read if you feel able to. (Perform self care as needed💖)

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Many people become activists for causes they believe in. Read Talia Wahl’s #PassionPreview about her activism: “My passion is promoting student activism against the issues of sexual violence on college campuses. After having my own personal experience with assault and an abusive relationship my first year of college, I decided to join a group on campus called "SPACE" to find similar students that I could safely share my own experiences with while also learning ways that I could become an active bystander to situations of sexual assault. After 3 years, I have now become President of the organization and feel confident that I can stop the violence.”

Why activism against sexual violence?

“By being a part of an organization that discusses sexual violence, I have helped raise awareness of the pervasive issues of rape, relationship violence, and stalking on college campuses. By doing this, my hopes have been to eradicate the culture of victim-blaming, change the overall atmosphere regarding sexual assault, and empower students to speak out and intervene. Ultimately, I hope to provide a safer and healthier campus through discussions and public events around the community. Victims of assault deserve to be listened to and supported. Having a safe space with access to campus resources helps victims become survivors!! I know this because I have learned this myself. By helping other survivors of sexual violence, I have realized healing is not linear, but thats ok.. and I will strongly move forward in my bright future because of those who continue to support me. “

To someone not interested in activism against sexual violence:

“Sexual violence is something that affects every person, with some individuals being at higher risks. When you ask a room of men and women what steps they take everyday to prevent being sexually assaulted, most men would answer "nothing", but women will immediately raise their hands and list off that they carry pepperspray or never walk anywhere alone, etc. The list goes on. This already displays that there is not one woman who hasn't dealt with the prevalence of sexual violence in our society. Women have been taught to fear predators who may "jump out of bushes", yet once we get to college, we realize these predators can unfortunately be the people we know closest to us. We witness many situations that do not look right or safe, yet society turns a blind eye with the mentality "this is not my issue".. but it is our issue. We must call out those who do wrong and protect those who are victimized. We must actively intervene situations because sexual violence is 100% preventable.”

To someone interested in activism against sexual violence:

“It is a great time to be a woman. Regardless of news and politics, now is the best time to stand up and be vocal about our issues. We do not need to be suppressed by the patriarchy. Sexual violence activism can be widespread or personal. On a larger level, getting involved with organizations who fight against sexual violence, like SPACE or local groups (Family Abuse Services or Crossroads), is an immediate way to get involved in discussion and promote change. On an individual level, ways to get involved is by changing your own behaviors around the topic of sexual violence. Avoid victim blaming. Support friends and family who disclose to you by listening, believing, and offering resources. Provide the autonomy back to those who have had it taken away due to violence and allow survivors the choice to report or not (that itself gives control back to the survivor). If you see something, intervene. If you hear someone make a rape joke, say something. We must change the way we talk about sexual violence to end the culture of it. “

Passion Emoji: ✊(empowerment) 💬(sparking conversation) 💖(support for survivors)