December 31, 1969 · Take Back the Archive

Sarah Surface, '16, vice-president of One Less; video interview

Interview with Sarah Surface, spring 2015, about her role in and observations of student advocacy and administrative response in the aftermath of the November 2014 "Rolling Stone" article, "A Rape on Campus."


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Niki Afsar and Tierney Vial
Take Back the Archive
Academic year 2014-2015
Video, 11:04 minutes
Sarah Surface, ’16
Vice-president of One Less, an all-female sexual assault education group that advocates for survivors.
External chair, Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition (SVPC).
Board of Directors, SARA (Sexual Assault Resource Agency, Charlottesville, VA).

0:19 How has sexual assault advocacy changed during your time at UVa?
“Advocacy has become a lot more visible at UVa, but still has a ways to go.”

1:30 How have responses to sexual assault changed within the UVa community?
“I’ve seen a change in commitment to prevention, although I think again we have a long ways to go. A lot of times UVa talks about prevention in terms of safety or risk reduction, so, better lighting, more security, etc.” What we need is more education that “gets at the cultural norms that perpetuate assaults.”

2:36 What advice do you have for students who want to get involved in sexual assault advocacy?
“The #1 thing I would say, especially after this year, is to develop a plan for self-care.”

3:26 What is a high priority area for improvement in UVa’s response to sexual assault?
Need to engage “the ‘typical student’ who is unsure of how to help out.”

5:09 Can you talk about student reactions to the events of the 2014-2015 school year?
“When the Rolling Stone article broke, and then all the details began to unravel and then it was eventually discredited, what we felt was emotional exhaustion times, like, a million. To know that the work you’d done at the university for three years might have been turned backwards was . . .”

9:11 Can you talk about your interactions with students through One Less?
“What’s really powerful for me is, you go into a room to do a presentation for One Less and you ask everyone to close their eyes and you say, ‘raise your hand if you or anyone you know has ever been affected by sexual violence.’ And I’ve never been in a room where less than half of the hands go up.” That experience “makes it hard for me to think about how people don’t think they should be involved” with advocating for survivors.
Date Added June 16, 2016
Date Modifed October 25, 2017
Collection Rolling Stone aftermath: video interviews with student leaders

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