The Know No initiative, developed to inform college students about the importance of the word “no” when it comes to sexual consent and assault, has announced a collaboration with the Black Women’s Health Imperative, My Sister’s Keeper, to bring the Know No campaign to the US’s historically black colleges and universities.
Project Know No was launched last September by MARC USA in the wake of light sentences for campus sexual offenders and the lack of clarity around sexual consent, particularly when victims are intoxicated or unconscious or when they know the attacker. The goal continues to be to spark conversations and change behavior around this increasingly pervasive issue.
The original video was powerful, with several women and a man seen lying in beds or on couches in public places, seemingly passed out next to a sign that says “If I can’t say no. I can’t say yes,” set to the track of “Till It Happens to You” by Lady Gaga and Diane Warren.
The #KnowNo movement continues to make news as more women are empowered to bring charges against their alleged rapists and the colleges they feel have been deaf to their pleas to help stop sexual assault on campus.
Since the launch, colleges around the country have held Know No events to create awareness and connect students to campus resources for prevention and victim support. My Sister’s Keeper, an advocacy and leadership-building initiative of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, has now joined with Know No to provide awareness and education on the campuses it serves with events planned at select HBCUs, including Southern University and A&M College, in the coming months.
The Black Women’s Health Imperative initiated the collaboration with Know No as another way to connect with the young women in its My Sister’s Keeper program and encourage them to support each other in making healthy choices, protect one another from intimate partner violence and serve as leaders on campus and in communities.
“My Sister’s Keeper encourages every woman on campus to get involved, get informed and use her voice as her sister’s keeper and strongest advocate,” said Osub Ahmed, project manager for My Sister’s Keeper.
Snake Roth, MARC USA Executive Producer and Know No co-founder, describes the effort as a movement. “We asked ourselves if people understood consent, would they still make the same choices? Would a young person under the influence find the sense to stop? Would a victim realize it was not her or his fault and report the incident? So, we are asking the country to help us spread the word.”