SAFE: breaking the silence


*About SAFE
*Useful Information
*Contact Information
*Current Projects

About SAFE

SAFE stands for Survivors and Allies For Education on Childhood Sexual Abuse and Incest. It is an activist group at Smith College that raises awareness of and acts on issues related to CSA and incest. Some of the things we have done in the past include workshops, information and resource sheets, film screenings, speakouts, and bringing the Clothesline Project to Smith during Sexual Abuse Awareness Week. General meetings are held on Wednesday nights at 9:30 in the Women's Resource Center (3rd floor of Davis). Although not a support group, SAFE is a very supportive group. Members can choose to commit to the group at whatever level they feel comfortable. We have group social events during the year which usually involve yummy food. SAFE is a gender-inclusive organization, and all meetings and events are always open to both survivors and allies so everyone is welcome.

What do we mean when we talk about childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and incest?

These are working definitions that may change as our own ideas change. CSA is the act of sexually engaging a child and can include inappropriate gesturing, staring, verbal interaction, or touching. Rape is also considered CSA if the survivor was under the age of 18 at the time. Incest is sexual relations occuring between family members of any age. It is not limited to blood relations and can include step-families and partners of family members. A survivor, as we use the term, is a person who has experienced childhood sexual abuse or incest. Identifying as a survivor is about self-perception and self-definition. An ally is a person who is not necessarily a survivor, but who is committed to stopping the cycle of abuse, and supporting survivors and offenders in their process of healing. An offender is someone who has sexually abused another person or persons. The term "offender" holds people responsible for their actions but allows for the possibility that they can work to change.

CSA and incest are more pervasive than commonly thought. In the United States, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men (based on biological sex) are sexually abused by the age of 18. To put this in perspective, these statistics would indicate that approximately 900 Smithies are survivors. Statistics for offenders and survivors reach across gender, race, class, religion, sexual orientation, etc. As a result of this reality, most people's lives have been touched in some way by CSA and incest whether they are aware of it or not. SAFE aims to make survivors feel supported by knowing that they are not alone and there is help available. By breaking the silence surrounding childhood sexual abuse and incest, we aim to open up all available structures and resources with in our communities in order to deal with and end such abuse. We hope to provide a forum for survivors and allies to positively channel their efforts to work against CSA.

For more information on childhood sexual abuse, click here.

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Useful Information

*How to help yourself or someone you know
*The fight to end childhood sexual abuse and incest
*Local, national, and international help and information resources
*Survivor-friendly practitioners and therapists in Hampshire County
*The Clothesline Project
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Contact Information

*E-mail address:

*Web address:

*Co-heads: Wanjiku (x5620), Elizabeth (x7011), Caroline (x7632)

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Current Projects

*Weekly meetings are held at 9:30 at the Women's Resource Center in Davis. Use the stairs closest to the Capen side of the building. Feel free to come to any of our meetings at any point during the semester. 
*We will be presenting educational workshops in campus houses. Contact your HR/RC if you would like to see a workshop in your house.
*We are in the process of planning our spring Sexual Abuse Awareness Week taking place April 15th-19th. The schedule for the week is below. We are also working on other projects during the semester, and we welcome forming coalitions with other organizations.
Monday, April 15th7- Film Screening: Things Behind the Sun directed by Allison Anders. Free popcorn from the Popcorn Palace. Discussion to follow the movie. 8pm in 110 (not Seelye 106).
Tuesday, April 16th-Community panel discussion: a profile of local community organizations and their approaches to dealing with sexual violence. Organizations include Everywoman's Center, Safe Passage, and Stop It Now! 4:30 in Seelye 101.
Wednesday, April 17th-Speakout at the fieldhouse. A safe and confidential space for survivors and allies to speak out about sexual violence. Doors open at 7pm, speakout to begin promptly at 7:30. Reception to follow in Dewey Common Room (not Seelye 101).
Thursday, April 18th-Take Back the Night (march and rally). Meet at 9:15pm at the Gamut. (Sorry, but FSU has cancelled Take Back the Night. They're working on rescheduling. Click here for more information or if you want to be involved in planning the new night being refocused as Take Back the Campus).
Friday, April 19th-Educational workshop on childhood sexual abuse and incest. Come learn about some of the issues that SAFE works on. 2:30 in Seelye 101.
The Clothesline Project will be up by Dewey Hall and Seelye on Wednesday through Friday. People can bring or make shirts to hang.

*All events are free and open to the public; both survivors and allies are welcome.
*Please wear a purple ribbon to show your support for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. These can be found at our table in the post office (M, T) or by the Clothesline Project (W-F). We encourage you to remember that awareness of sexual violence extends beyond a week or a month.

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If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail us at or send your comments in the form below. Thank you for visiting our page!



Last revised: April, 2002