“Domestic violence and sexual assault are never the victim’s fault. It’s time we speak out to end this violence. No more excuses. No more silence. No more violence.” -Rutgers NO MORE Advocacy Posters
Rutgers NO MORE is a new student-run advocacy organization that helps combat domestic violence and sexual assault. Existing last year as a campus campaign, Rutgers NO MORE has since been approved as an official Rutgers student organization and is focused on starting conversations and driving awareness within the Rutgers community regarding domestic violence and sexual assault.
I Am Rutgers sat down with Vice President, Taylor Miller, to learn more about the mission of Rutgers NO MORE and its future plans to generate awareness and breaks down stigmas.
“Rutgers NO MORE goes around campus and starts conversations within other organizations. We don’t like to call ourselves presenters, we like to call ourselves conversation catalysts because we aren’t standing there to present to people, we just want people to engage in conversation and acknowledge that these issues do exist. Most of the time people do want to talk about it – it’s just breaking that initial awkwardness and fear of hearing the words assault, rape etc.,” Miller explains.
Members of Rutgers NO MORE go to different organizations 5-8 times per week and have already reached many different parts of the Rutgers community including the Army ROTC, RUSA, RUPA, Rutgers UNICEF, as well as residence halls throughout all five New Brunswick campuses.
Depending on the organization, Rutgers NO MORE caters their conversation to their audience. They allow the organization to choose the topic of discussion — whether it’s rape culture, sexual assault, domestic violence, etc. They also try to cater their statistics to the specific group they are addressing to emphasize the relevancy and importance of the topics they are discussing. For example, Rutgers NO MORE is in the process of partnering with LGBTQ organizations, and plans to discuss how those who identify as part of the LGBTQ community are two to three times more likely to experience sexual violence.
“We don’t really have a script or a go-to agenda. We go about it differently for every organization that we talk to. I think that’s what makes us different and what makes us authentic.”
At the conclusion of their conversations, organizations are encouraged to take pictures with Rutgers NO MORE Advocacy Posters to signify students’ commitments to break down stigmas and become advocates rather than bystanders.
Rutgers NO MORE is currently in the process of partnering with the Panhellenic Council to reach out to all sororities as well as working with the Intra-Fraternity Council to start conversations within fraternities. They also hope to partner with Rutgers Athletics in the future to spread awareness and start a dialogue within the student-athlete community.
“We want to create an open dialogue with as many organizations as possible. It’s important that every Rutgers student knows where to go and what resources are available. It’s important that students are able to help others, and that they also know how to help themselves should they ever find themselves in a situation where they need support.”
Rutgers students can get involved in this initiative in many different ways. Rutgers NO MORE has five different committees for students to participate in: the Conversation Committee, which includes those students who go to different organizations and speak on behalf of Rutgers NO MORE, as well as Social Media, Event Outreach, Internal, and Fundraising Committees. If none of those groups interest students, Rutgers NO MORE also encourages general membership and bystander advocacy:
“There’s a niche for everyone. In addition to committee members, general members are equally important in spreading awareness. We also emphasize the importance of being a bystander – if you see something, say something. The only way to create change is through a well-informed, united community.”
General interest meetings are held every other Sunday in the Red Lion Cafe. Check out the Rutgers NO MORE Facebook page for more information.