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Category: Girls

Jaclyn Friedman: A Woman Making History

March 24, 2010

In recognition of the 30th anniversary of Women’s History Month, Women’s Media Center is profiling 30 extraordinary women making history. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to support WMC Exclusives — every dollar raised will go directly toward hiring women writers to comment on major news stories and report topics often neglected by the mainstream media. Will you contribute $30? Click here to donate: or text WOMEN to 50555 to make a $10 donation. Jaclyn Friedman: A Woman Making History by Michaela Monahan Jaclyn Friedman’s work means a lot to me -- not just because she’s an alumna of WMC’s Progressive Women’s Voices program, or the co-founder and co-chair of WAM! (Women, Action, and the Media). Most inspiring for me is Jaclyn’s work speaking out against rape culture on U.S. college campuses: she co-authored the acclaimed book Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape with Jessica Valenti of and has been an outspoken advocate for survivors since she was assaulted at a college party. In college, I personally knew women who had been sexually assaulted and were faced with bogus and irrelevant interrogation and an apathetic attitude when reporting it to campus officials. According to a recent study by the Center for Public Integrity, female college students face a 20% chance of being sexually assaulted or the victim of an attempt while at school, and I don’t think there’s anything more damaging to a woman’s educational experience than this clear threat to her safety.  Jaclyn’s is a much-needed voice speaking out strongly on this issue.  Her recent Washington Post op-ed called out U.S. college campuses for their tentative way of combating sexual assault, writing: “When it comes to sexual assault, they’ll do anything to be able to claim that "it doesn't happen here" -- even if that means flouting reporting laws and creating the very environment of silence, rape apology and victim-blame that ensures that it will.”  She also published a Huffington Post article commenting on Chris Brown's sentence for physically assaulting singer Rihanna.  Jaclyn is truly changing the conversation - including at my alma mater, which recently added a class based on her book to its curriculum offerings. Thank you, Jaclyn, for being a strong voice against college rape culture and violence against women. Jaclyn Friedman is a great writer, performer, and activist, and a woman making history today.  Women’s Media Center is proud to work with Jaclyn and WAM!. In fact, the WMC is looking forward to providing a Media Training Workshop for WAM! It Yourself participants this Saturday.