The AAUW California Online Branch recently held an outstanding community engagement program around The Invisible War, a documentary that focuses on the struggle of women and men who were sexually assaulted in the military. In the weeklong online discussion following the screening, members discussed the need for awareness surrounding military sexual assault and debated victim blaming, social responsibility, and women in military combat positions.
The branch decided to do more than discuss the issue. The members took action — by raising over $1,200 for the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund, which supports the lawsuits of two plaintiffs featured in the documentary.
The Invisible War screening is just one of the project resources available to AAUW branches; there are a host of free programming resources available to help your branch engage both members and the local community. Here are three of our favorite program resources:
Use our Invisible War Program in a Box to host a screening for your branch — either online like the California Online Branch has done, or at an on-site screening and panel discussion. This program is a great way to raise awareness within your branch and broader community about the unacceptably high rate of sexual assault within the military. Plus, you can mobilize your community to take further steps through advocacy. Download discussion questions, program instructions, and information about the documentary from the Invisible War Program in a Box page.
Want to connect with students and share experiences, insight, and enthusiasm? Start an AAUW student organization and benefit both your AAUW branch and local students. Through an AAUW organization, students can engage in activism, leadership training, and receive professional support. Download the student organizations Program in a Box to get sample templates, forms, and other planning resources.
Nearly 20 percent of undergraduate students — most of them female — experience attempted sexual assault during their time at college. In addition to having a tainted college experience, victims of sexual assault may suffer from related trauma for the rest of their lives. Women students deserve safe college campuses, and you can help make that a reality. This resource provides instructions for how students and AAUW members can raise awareness about sexual assault on campus, hold educational and prevention programming, and reform inadequate sexual assault policies on campus.
You want to have a positive impact on your community and your branch — and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to do it. Go to our collection of program resources and find a new way to engage the community, attract new members, or become more involved in AAUW advocacy efforts.
This post was written by AAUW Social Media Intern Elisa Shearer.