Dismantling the Culture of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in America: An in-depth exploration of sexual crimes and how to address them. Spring 2018


Today, we are at a critical moment in this country. Women are coming forward in droves with stories of sexual assault and harassment in disparate fields spanning decades. The semester-long initiative at John Jay College of Criminal Justice will address the issues of sexual harassment and sexual violence in a multidisciplinary manner at a time that some have described as a defining moment and tipping point in America. 
 Sexual violence affects millions of Americans. Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted (RAINN). One in four women in the United States will experience some kind of abuse during her lifetime (NYC Mayor’s OCDV). We know that domestic violence and sexual violence very often intersect. We also know that adolescents are more likely to experience sexually violent crimes than any other age group, and the risks are even higher for young people from communities of color, as well as those who identify as LGBTQ (NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault). This reality, amplified by the recent emergence of hundreds of victims, predominantly women, coming forward with stories of sexual harassment and rape by men in positions of power in all fields of professional life, compelled faculty, students, and administrators at John Jay College of Criminal Justice to launch an initiative to take place throughout the spring semester 2018, titled: Sexual Justice Now!

John Jay College of Criminal Justice has an important mission in higher education, and is, in many ways, the leading voice on the prevention of rape and sexual violence through its academic curricula and faculty scholarship and research. The complex nature of one of the most controversial issues in the country cannot be resolved unless continued dialogue and information sharing takes place. This semester-long themed initiative on these issues will convene a diverse set of stakeholders (listed below) on the campus of John Jay College to lay bare and discuss the multi-layered dynamics of this topic. As the preeminent College exploring criminal and social justice issues and a Hispanic Serving Institution with a highly diverse student and faculty population, John Jay is uniquely positioned to host such a comprehensive initiative by providing an environment that is safe, inviting and respectful of differing views.

 We aim to better understand American culture surrounding the issues of sexual harassment and assault, including intimate partner violence, and to educate and mobilize the college community and general public through various projects, presentations, and networking events. Semester-long initiatives differ from traditional conversations in fundamental ways and consist of five major areas: (1) academic panel presentations with scholars, experts, students, public policymakers, legislators, representatives from law enforcement and security, foundation representatives, practitioners, community advocacy leaders, artists and featured keynote speakers; (2) research projects, surveys, and interviews that capture the public attitude on the issue; (3) journalistic contributions addressing the role and influence of the media; (4) faculty/student research projects integrated into class curricula during the spring semester and collaboratively presented during the initiative; and (5) exhibits, screenings, theatrical and musical performances by independent artists and performers. All events will be open to the general public and will be available to the media.