Yesterday, Attorney General Andy Beshear joined Eileen Recktenwald, director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP), to announce the winners of the #VoiceofJustice video contest via Facebook Live.
A panel of survivors and victim advocates selected the video “Stand with us” as the overall $500 video prizewinner. Students enrolled in Dr. Emily Bonistall Postel’s 400-level sociology course at the University of Kentucky submitted the video, and students Trent Patrick and Raenah Hawkins led the production team.
The video, “We all need to speak up,” produced by Western Kentucky University SGA and co-produced by students Sam Kirby and Student Body President Jay Todd Richey, won the $500 “Viral Video” award by receiving the most views on Beshear’s YouTube channel.
“I want to thank every student, faculty member and campus organization who sent in a video or who helped us spread the word about the contest,” Beshear said. “Voice of Justice was an opportunity for college students to lend their voices to bringing greater awareness to campus sexual assault, and I am proud of their courage to speak out. I hope their bravery inspires everyone on campus to intervene and prevent sexual assault, and creates a safer space for victims to contact the rape crisis hotline and report to authorities.”
Beshear’s Office and KASAP created the contest to engage Kentucky college students and campus communities to raise awareness for campus sexual assault during April’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
“The more voices that are raised to bring awareness to the scope of the problem of sexual assault and the lifelong harmful effects it causes to our fellow human beings, the stronger the much-needed support for victims who are doing the hard work of healing there will be,” Recktenwald said.
Beshear said sexual assault is a crime that effects one in five women and one in 16 men in college, yet in 2015, only 36 sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement on Kentucky’s public university campuses.
Announced in February 2017, the #VoiceofJustice contest called upon college students to submit 30-second videos that contained information on the 24/7 free and confidential Sexual Assault Hotline, 800-656-HOPE, and increase:
By the April 1 deadline, Beshear’s office received 14 entries from seven colleges and universities: Elizabethtown Community and Technical College; Murray State University; Owensboro Community and Technical College; Western Kentucky University; West Kentucky Community and Technical College; University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.
The videos are posted on the Office of the Attorney General’s YouTube page and are available for public service announcement usage on Kentucky’s college campuses and by statewide media outlets.
Clorissa Novak, a member of the Office of the Attorney General’s Survivors Council, was one of the contest judges.
“I was so pleased to see so many great submissions,” Novak said. “It was especially heartening for me to see the call to action to stand up for victims’ rights and be an active bystander. I hope survivors on the contest winners’ campuses and beyond will see these videos and know that they are not alone.”
Since announcing the contest, Beshear traveled to many of Kentucky’s colleges and universities to encourage students to participate in the contest, to urge support from faculty and campus communities, and to raise awareness.
The contest is part of Beshear’s mission to seek justice for victims of sexual assault and bring transparency to the reporting of sexual assaults on college campuses.