The “Speak Out!” program is a College/Community Coalition to End Violence Against Women and all victims of violence regardless of gender. This is a victim-centered advocacy and education program which seeks to enable and facilitate a victim’s right to make all decisions about what, if any, options to pursue following an incident of any kind of victimization. The program is committed to empowering a victim to reassume control over his/her life and to supporting the victim’s journey to becoming a survivor.
The Project was originally funded in 2002 by the US Department of Justice, Office of Women. Over the six year lifetime of the grant, the programs and services were institutionalized, and the program now continues without the DOJ funding.
The specific goals are: 1) to increase awareness about relationship violence, sexual assault, stalking, and all forms of violence against women; 2) to provide support and advocacy services for victims; and 3) to hold perpetrators responsible for their behavior, both through College disciplinary proceedings and fully coordinated investigation and prosecution in the criminal courts.
The Program enjoys the benefits of important collaborating partnerships with other agencies in the Westchester County community, including: My Sister's Place of White Plains; Victims Assistance Services of Elmsford; the Westchester County Office of Public Safety; and the Westchester County Office of the District Attorney.
A victim centered support system is one that enables and facilitates a victim's rights to make decisions and determinations about what options will be pursued following victimization. This facilitates victim empowerment, which is essential for victims to regain a sense of power and control after a victimization during which they had no power of choice.