In 2013, Project Envision NYC & La Casa Mandarina launched the campaign "I Have The Right..." in response to rape culture, where survivors remain in silence out of fear and shame because society does not believe them, and often blames them.
The goal was to start a dialogue to change the social norms that perpetuate oppression and sexual and gender violence. It began in New York City but expanded to Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, India, Colombia, Serbia, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua and many other countries to share experiences with different agencies and communities around the world.
Over the past two years, we have been organizing activities to engage people in a dialogue on the root causes of sexual violence, including awareness events, conferences, workshops, debates, distribution and display of “I have the RIGHT…” posters and post cards, community discussion and mobilization, etcetera. We also presented an itinerant exhibit of photos of the campaign including people´s thoughts and feelings about what they have the RIGHT to do without someone choosing to oppress or abuse them.
"I Have The Right…" had a great response locally and abroad. It first started as a campaign to raise awareness about ways that our communities can invest in preventing sexual violence. However, through our work in different communities around the world, the campaign became a way of making visible the intersection of sexual violence with other forms of oppression, that one issue cannot be prevented without looking at another – racism, homophobia, xenophobia, poverty, homelessness, intimate partner violence, body-shaming, etcetera-. As a result, the campaign has grown to become a systematized, easily replicable and effective intervention project to empower communities from within and can be adapted to different contexts.
"I Have The Right…" is about exploring the underlying root causes of violence through allowing people the space to talk about sex, sexual violence, relationships, gender and social norms and oppression. It focuses on consciousness raising and empowerment- identifying how oppression affects all of us and finding the tools to prevent it in our day to day lives- as individuals, as families, as friends, and as communities. We also want to tell survivors it is not their fault, that we believe them and they are not alone.
I Have The Right… to live sexual violence free!
Since then, they have been organizing activities to engage New York City in a dialogue on the root causes of sexual violence, including awareness events, debates, distribution and display of “I Have The Right…” posters and post cards, community discussion and mobilization, etcetera. They have also presented an itinerant exhibit of photos of the campaign including people´s thoughts and feelings about what they have the RIGHT to do without someone choosing to rape them.
The campaign started in New York City but expanded to Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua, Brazil, Sweden, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, England, Norway, Indonesia, Serbia, New Zealand, Cambodia, South Africa, Pakistan , Zimbabwe, Iran, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Canada, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Thailand and India.
La Casa Mandarina & Project Envision implemented an intervention project aimed at strengthening local agencies. Violence Intervention Program Inc. -VIP Mujeres– works with immigrant women survivors of Domestic Violence and their children in New York City. In different stages, we trained their staff (train the trainers), co-facilitated workshops with their clients in primary prevention, provided resources for survivors, and supported them to design their own “I Have The Right…” campaign/project.