Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
Rolling Stone, Campus Sexual Assault, and Know Your IX
Monday, 08 December 2014 12:58

A recent controversy about Rolling Stone's article about sexual assault at the University of Virginia, and the magazine's subsequent retraction of that article, has sparked lots of conversation about sexual assault on college campuses.  Rolling Stone's handling of the situation was regrettable.  But in the maelstrom of criticism, it's important to remember that the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses is real.  At least 85 colleges or universities are under investigation due to concerns about how they handled allegations of sexual assault.  Too few campuses are doing the work of not only overhauling policies, but changing a culture on campus that normalizes sexual assault and blames survivors rather than perpetrators.

Our friends at Know Your IX, a national student campaign against gender-based violence, wrote this piece for MSNBC:

"Here’s the thing: Campus violence is very real. The national effort to address these harms has been heavily reported, but the rape, harassment, abuse, and assault started long before journalists turned their attention to our lives. They occur now whether or not you believe Jackie or any other student. But I hope you do.

If we spent all the energy we expend questioning survivors instead preventing violence, just imagine the impact we could have."

Read the full article


Out of Silence Print
Friday, 05 December 2014 11:21
Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign (1 in 3 play)

Press Release: Advocates for Youth’s 1 in 3 Campaign Announces Production of Groundbreaking Play

For Immediate Release: September 16, 2014
Rachel Cooke, Advocates for Youth

202.419.3420 x45 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

1 in 3 Campaign reveals plans for the Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign, a series of vignettes inspired by women’s real life experiences with abortion, coming to a theater January 2015 Washington D.C., – Today, the 1 in 3 Campaign is proud to announce a transformative theatrical piece that will deepen and expand our understanding of women’s experiences with abortion—Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign. One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime, but for too long the culture of shame and stigma have pushed these stories to the fringes, or worse, into silence. The play will feature a series of vignettes written by a diverse set of multi-generational, female playwrights based on the over 400 stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign. The play will be co-produced by Jacqueline E. Lawton and directed by Marie Byrd Sproul. In the same vein as The Vagina Monologues, Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign will explore a wide range of situations and experiences. The play will continue the 1 in 3 Campaign’s mission to start a new conversation about abortion and move beyond the political rhetoric and divisive debate and will instead highlight the importance of abortion plays in the lives of women. “Plays have a long history of introducing new perspectives and shifting public discourse, while providing audience with a safe space to grapple with important social issues” says Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth. “We have been honored to receive these stories from women across the country. Each story is unique and brings a fresh perspective to the issue, but what is most remarkable are the commonalities that bind us. It is our hope that after seeing these plays performed, the audience will understand that women who seek abortion are our sisters, daughters, mothers, and best friends. Our voices need to be heard and we are thrilled to bring that to stage for wider audiences.” In keeping with the 1 in 3 Campaign’s dedication to highlighting and furthering the activism of Millennials on abortion access, the play will be made available, for free, for youth activists to stage on their college campuses and their communities. The script for Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign will be available on the 1 in 3 Campaign website. The play is comprised of a series of short scenes, monologues and point-of-views all inspired from the stories of the 1 in 3 Campaign. The first private read-through for youth activists took place early September 2014. Creative team included co-producer Jacqueline E. Lawton, director Marie Byrd Sproul, dramaturgs Hannah Hessel Ratner and Laura Esti Miller, playwrights Allison Currin, DW Gregory, Caleen Jennings, Nicole Jost, Kristen LePine, Soo-Jin Lee, Danielle Mohlman, Mary Resing, Noelle Viñas, and Anu Yadav and actors Lolita-Marie, Patricia Dugueye, Amal Saade and Jennifer Speerstra.. A fully produced play will be performed for the public in a professional theater in January 2015 around the anniversary of Roe v Wade. “It’s been an honor working on this project,” says co-producer Jacqueline E. Lawton. “I was deeply touched after reading the stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign, and I feel that Out of Silence creates room for better understanding of the complexities of people’s lives and the need to protect women’s rights.” “Bringing this production to the stage has been an insightful experience both personally and professionally,” says director Marie Byrd Sproul. “These stories need to be heard, they need to be brought out for all of us to listen to and respect.”


The 1 in 3 Campaign, a project of Advocates for Youth, is a grassroots movement to start a new conversation about abortion that uses storytelling to end the stigma around abortion care in America and to ensure that abortion remains safe, legal, and affordable.

Co-Producer biography:

Jacqueline E. Lawton was named one of the top 30 national leading black playwrights by Arena Stage’s American Voices New Play Institute. She received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. Lawton has worked as a dramaturg and research consultant at Active Cultures, Actors Theatre of Louisville - Humana Festival of New American Plays, African Continuum Theater Company, the Arden Theater, Arena Stage, Discovery Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, Folger Shakespeare Library, the Ford's Theatre, Horizons Theater, Howard University, the Hub Theatre, Interact Theatre, Kennedy Center VSA Program, Morgan State University, Redshift Productions, Rorschach Theater Company, Round House Theatre, Theater Alliance, Theater of the First Amendment, Theater J, Tribute Productions, University of Maryland, Virginia Stage Company, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. She serves on the Advisory Board of African Continuum Theatre Company and as the Diversity and Inclusion Online Conference Curator for TCG. She is a proud member of Arena Stage's Playwright's Arena and the Dramatist Guild of America.

Director biography:

Marie Byrd Sproul is a freelance director. DC area credits include: Director, One-Minute Play Festival (Round House Theatre); Assistant Director to Jeremy Skidmore on The Beauty Queen of Leenane and to KJ Sanchez on ReEntry (Round House Theatre); Assistant Director to Aaron Posner on The Conference of the Birds (Folger Theatre) and The Last Five Years (Signature Theatre); Director, Stage Door (American Century Theatre). Other Regional theatre credits include: Assistant Director to Gavin Witt on Twelfth Night, to Jeremy Cohen on Let There Be Love and to KJ Sanchez on ReEntry (Centerstage); Co-Director of The Decade Plays (Centerstage); Assistant Director to Aaron Posner on The Game's Afoot (The Cleveland Playhouse); Director, The Wrestling Season, The Why, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (ShenanArts).
Ensuring Young People’s Access to Preventive Services in the Affordable Care Act
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 08:33

Check out this important new publication!

Young people need access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health care services. By requiring most health plans to cover preventive services without cost sharing, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) holds the potential to make many critical healthcare services more accessible to young people, including screenings for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, contraceptive care, pregnancy-related care, and HPV immunizations, among other services. Additionally, the ACA has made it possible for many young people to stay on their parents’ plans up to age 26, and those with income under 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible for Medicaid coverage.Since young people ages 15 to 24 are more likely to experience unintended pregnancy and STIs than most other age groups,increased access to these services has the potential to make a real difference in many young people’s lives. In fact, it already has: since the implementation of the ACA, young people are significantly more likely to receive a routine examination including preventive care services.

But at the policy level, a number of challenges exist to successful implementation of the preventive services provisions of the ACA, especially those pertaining to reproductive and sexual health. 

Read more

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 08:20


November 25 is the International Day Against Violence Against Women, and the first day of 2014’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, that runs through December 10 (International Human Rights Day)During the 16 Days of Action, Advocates for Youth and our allies highlight violence against women as a human rights issue and call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. This year, the theme of the 16 Days of Activism is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender-Based Violence!” In observance of the 16 Days, advocates from around the world are using blog posts, radio, and other media, and hosting events to lift up the stories of women and girls, emphasize the intersectional nature of gender-based violence and push for an end to violence against women.

All Young People Have the Right to Lead Safe and Healthy Lives
Monday, 24 November 2014 21:22

The death of Michael Brown represents only one small piece of the systemic injustice and violence that all too frequently cause young people, particularly young men of color, irreparable harm in our communities. No young person's life should end under such tragic circumstances -- circumstances that are far too common. Too many of our young people in the United States and around the world grow up in fear and at risk of violence and harm from a society that does not give them the rights and respect they deserve. At the very least, young people should not fear violence or danger from those whose duty it is to protect and serve. We all need to keep working for a culture and for policies that value young people, create opportunities for them, and make them part of the solution.. All young people deserve, and have the right to lead, safe and healthy lives.

Young people in communities around the nation have stood up against the continued injustices and called for real solutions to the systemic injustice. We stand in solidarity with those exercising their right to nonviolent protest and making efforts to find lasting change.

2014 Trans Day of Rememberance
Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:23

November 20, 2014, marks, the 16th International Transgender Day of Remembrance. According to their website, “The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.” Originally, the day was established to honor Rita Hester, who was murdered on November 28, 1998. Today, hundreds of thousands of people around the world honor the day.

Advocates for Youth would like to observe this day by honoring the lives of transgender young people that have died because of anti-transgender violence. According to the Transrespect Versus Transphobia Worldwide (TVT) project, there have been 226 cases of reported killings of trans people around the world within the last 12 months. Of those, approximately 20% were under the age of 25. Below is a list of young people around the world that have died because of anti-trans violence. Join us as we remember and honor their lives. #TDOR

2014 Election Recap: The Good, the Bad, and the Hideously Ugly
Saturday, 08 November 2014 10:18

by Abbey Marr, Reproductive Justice Fellow

No doubt about it, last Tuesday’s results were tough to take. We’re painfully aware of the ways that the 114th Congress can have a serious impact on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people. But, there were some silver linings to remember as we look at what is to come. Here’s what went down this week:

The Good:

  • Most ballot measures were positive on issues important to young people: Voters approved extensive background checks for gun purchases in Washington, an equal rights amendment in Oregon, the reduction of some criminal penalties in California, paid sick leave mandates in Massachusetts and several New Jersey towns, marijuana decriminalization in Oregon, Alaska, Guam, and DC, and minimum wage raises in South Dakota, Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, Illinois, San Francisco and Oakland, and they soundly rejected personhood amendments in North Dakota and Colorado.
  • Senator Jeanne Shaheen – a champion on sexual health issues who has sponsored key legislation on abortion access and birth control – ran a successful campaign with a reproductive rights platform, making Scott Brown the first man to be defeated in a Senate race by two women in two different states.
  • Many of our progressive champions in the House were re-elected. To brighten your day, check out this interview with one of our sex ed champions, Barbara Lee, on the Colbert Report (skip to 6:24 where they talk about comprehensive sex ed!).
  • At the state level, Tom Wolf defeated Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who had an abysmal record on reproductive health issues.

  •
    "A Very Queer Love Letter to Alabama"
    Monday, 27 October 2014 07:08

    Foster, a state activist and a member of Advocates for Youth's Media Team, wrote this excellent piece for  

    "When Adam and I worked to organize and mobilize for change to sex education laws, we were undercut even by those who supported our cause. Tens of thousands of people signed and commented on our petition. Every third comment was some variation of "This is the 21st century" "Alabama is disgusting" "You poor children!" One commenter even suggested a revamping of the Underground Railroad to remove LGBTQ young people from the South. When we read those comments, we did not feel loved. We did not feel safe. And we did not agree.

    The South is a region that comes with incredible bigotry but also an incredible history of organizing and resistance. Queer people here face incredible barriers, but our experiences and feelings about our state are not a monolith. My queer Alabama is beautiful and resilient. When I found activism in my community, it changed my life."

    Read the full article

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