STATEMENT – Dignity Defense Alert: ‘Everyone’s Invited’ Founder Recognized for Shedding Light on Rape Culture
WASHINGTON, DC (April 29, 2021) – As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), has recognized Soma Sara, founder of Everyone’s Invited, in its monthly Dignity Defense Alert, for shedding light on the scope and impact of rape culture, with the ultimate goal of eradicating it. The Dignity Defense Alert is a monthly campaign recognizing the people, companies, nonprofits, etc. who are taking action to defend human dignity from any form of sexual abuse or exploitation.
“We applaud Soma Sara for confronting rape culture and the factors that ‘normalize’ sexual assault in society. The attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors that constitute rape culture – a normalization and trivializing of sexual violence – negatively affect the everyday lives of millions of people, especially women and girls,” said Lina Nealon, director of corporate and strategic initiatives at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
Soma Sara was inspired to create Everyone’s Invited after she posted on Instagram about her own experience with rape culture—a post that resonated with hundreds of people who responded by sharing their own stories: many about sexual harassment and abuse from peers at their public and private schools. Sara felt compelled to create a space where people could anonymously give their testimony, thereby elevating the personal impact to the public sphere and providing a sense of the magnitude of the issue. More than 15,000 (to date) people from around the world have submitted testimonies and it has brought the issue of violence against women to the forefront in the UK where Soma Sara is based. The significant number of testimonies from young students prompted schools named in the testimonies to conduct internal reviews, the National Police Chiefs to set up a police helpline, and the UK Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee to launch a national inquiry into the extent of rape and violence against women.
Everyone’s Invited places a large emphasis on understanding rape culture as just that—a culture: one that allows other harmful behaviors to thrive. “When behaviours like upskirting, slut-shaming, victim-blaming, sexist or derogatory comments, or the non-consensual sharing of intimate photos are normalised, it acts as a gateway to criminal acts like assault and rape,” explains Sara. She also calls out the “damaging impact of pornography on young minds.” The site explains that everything is anonymized to avoid the cancel culture that seeks to uproot one bad actor, when in fact everyone is somewhat complicit in the perpetuation of rape culture, and we must all push back against it. Everyone’s Invited also calls for the community to practice empathy as a way to “forgive and go forward”. . .“working towards reconciliation and creating a new future.”
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation commends Soma Sara and the team at Everyone’s Invited for giving survivors a platform and for courageously confronting rape culture.
About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.