If you follow us on social media, you have likely seen who we partner with. One of our favorite partnerships, and most valuable partnerships comes from our connection with UCASA. Many people haven’t heard about UCASA and it surprises us… It’s more surprising to us than the amount of people who still have NO idea Halftee exists.
We want to shout our partnership with UCASA from the rooftops and tell the world who and what they are, and guess what!? You can help us do that. Over the next couple months we will be posting a lot about UCASA and about our upcoming Annual Dinner for UCASA. But this year we are doing things a little differently. But I am getting a little bit ahead of myself…. Let’s rewind a little bit.
What is UCASA?:
Learn more about what UCASA does at UCASA.org or follow them on social media (@ucasaorg on instagram)
Now that you have a little background on UCASA, let’s dive in to HOW Halftee got involved.
We first met UCASA’s Executive Director, Liliana Arbon, when we invited her to model for Halftee. In true amanda Barker fashion, she got chatting with the models and learned more about them… She was intrigued and interested in what Lily did. The cause was something Amanda thankfully didn’t have any personal experience with (or so she thought, but the truth is- Sexual Violence affects all of us. Some of us experience it on a grander scale, the truth is- it affects us all), but she wanted to help… As we shared above, UCASA gets their funding through government allocations, but there is so much red tape with governmentally funded money, and they had so much they couldn’t do that they wanted to. Here was somewhere Amanda could help. She decided we were going to donate 20% of our monthly sales to UCASA, and that we were going to help educate our community by holding an annual education event to get the word out as far as we could! This year will be our 3rd Annual Event and we can't wait!
Some things we have learned from UCASA:
Myths and Realities
Most of us are taught to think that if we are smart, careful, and follow certain rules, we can stop something like sexual violence from happening to us. We want you to understand the facts about sexual violence so you can begin to believe that you did not cause yourself to be attacked. Rape can happen to anyone.
Rape is a devastating violation of body, mind, and spirit. Sexual assault takes your feeling of control and safety away no matter who you are and no matter who the perpetrator is. Every survivor has characteristics or previous experiences that impact the way the assault feels to them.
Survivors often wonder what they did to cause a sexual assault to happen to them. Sometimes placing responsibility on yourself feels safer, as if by blaming yourself you can make sure it will never happen again. This does not really keep you safer because you did not cause the assault. Experiencing some feelings of guilt is normal, but you are not responsible for the rapist’s behavior. The rape was not your fault.
Myth: It could never happen to me.
Reality: Anybody can be raped, regardless of age, gender, class, race, occupation, religion, sexual orientation or physical appearance. In Utah, one in eight women will be raped and one in three will be sexually assaulted.
Myth: I can spot a rapist.
Reality: A rapist looks like anyone else.
Myth: Rapists are acting on impulse.
Reality: Sexual assault is an act of violence, power and control - not passion. Rape is not the result of sexual arousal. Offenders seek power by taking it away from someone else. Sex is the weapon used to commit the crime.
Myth: If I didn’t fight back it’s my fault or not really rape.
Reality: Submitting to sexual assault to save your life, to keep from being hurt, or because you were afraid does not make it any less of a crime. Some survivors “freeze” or “space out”. Deciding to be still or pretend to “go along” with a rapist is another way to fight back and is not the same as consent. SUBMISSION IS NOT CONSENT. If you did not want it, it was sexual assault.
Myth: Rapes are committed in dark alleys by strangers.
Reality: Over 80% of sexual assault cases were perpetrated by men who knew the women they assaulted. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 6 out of 10 rapes and sexual assaults occur in the victim’s home or at the home of a friend, relative, or neighbor.
No one deserves to be raped. If you have been sexually assaulted, the sexual assault was not your fault. Anything you
did to live through the rape is valid. For most people, the main task during an assault is survival.
Every survivor of sexual violence is different and reacts in their own unique way to an assault. If you do not recognize yourself here, that does not mean your reaction was wrong. For most people, the main task during an assault is survival.
Our first event with UCASA was held in April of 2020. A small scale event and dinner where UCASA shared their mission, their goals, and their vision for the future. Survivors shared their experiences and guests pledged to share what they learned, stand with and believe survivors. We were empowered to continue our efforts and for me, it holds a special spot. As a survivor myself I am thankful to participate in an event that educates communities, leaders, parents, young adults and kids how to end sexual violence. I was unaware of UCASA’s existence even as a survivor myself and this was a problem. HOW could I not know about this organization? WHY had the officers in charge of my assault case not told me about them? WHERE was the information and the resources this organization provided when I needed them?
Even one county over, the officers were not aware of this organization designed to help people like me. The advertising for this organization is hard to find, and the topic taboo. That’s why it is so important to spread the word. Did you know there is a CASA chapter in every state? Look yours up! Where is your chapter located? Follow them on social media, and make it normal to share their posts and information, attend their events and spread awareness. Teach affirmative consent at home and normalize talking about sex and safe dating… Avoid the shaming stigma and make sure your girls know their worth is NOT in sex or sexual favors. Teach your boys to RESPECT women and control their sexual desires. Silence was the result, and religious shaming was the teacher... shame and guilt the answer for my generation....