Mobilizing Communities to Celebrate Healing and Recovery
SAY SO! is a public event the Alliance created to raise awareness about sexual violence in NYC, and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. SAY SO! not only brings sexual violence into the bright light of day, it uniquely stresses a positive message: celebrating healing and recovery of survivors of sexual violence.
The event was introduced in Sprint 2004 as “Listen” a 24-hour event organized by the Alliance and a team of advocates, social activists and volunteers. The event was staged in April as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), which is observed throughout the United States. Listen was inspired by Take Back the Night (TBTN), and international series of marches and rallies dating back to the 1970s to protest sexual violence and reclaim women’s safety at night.
In 2006, the event underwent two significant changes. First, the name was changed to Sexual Assault Yearly Speak Out, known today by its acronym – SAY SO! This active phrase – SAY SO! – captures the spirit of the anti-sexual violence movement to initiate public discourse about sexual assault and to celebrate the strength of survivors. Secondly, the annual event was moved to a bustling hub of round-the-clock life that used for a host of community events, political demonstrations and festivals.
Summer 2008, also marked a significant turning point for SAY SO!. With technical support from the Alliance, Safe Horizon’s Staten Island Rape and Sexual Assault Program held its first annual SAY SO! in July. The resounding success of that event was a turning point for the Alliance – instead of investing it resources and staff in one annual event, SAY SO! could be adopted by other organizations to mobilize and educate their communities about sexual violence and local treatment centers available to survivors of sexual violence. The decision was made to “franchise” the SAY SO! model and help cultivate events citywide.
Archive of Past Events
See photos, descriptions, and materials from SAY SO! here.