Take Back The News: Four Sisters Confront the Rape Epidemic
Monday, February 6, 2006 9:05 AM

Take Back The News
P.O. Box 110-945, Brooklyn, NY 11211 · TakeBackTheNews.org


Contact: Emily Brandt

Amnesty International recently published a report concluding that one in three people believes that women who behave flirtatiously are at least partially responsible for being raped, and a similar number think that women are partially or wholly responsible for being raped if they are drunk.  Recent statistics (National Center for Policy Analysis, U.S. Dept. of Justice) estimate that only 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail for their crime. Rape may be the only crime where the victim is blamed and the perpetrator nearly always escapes punishment.  Yet, rape is one of the most devastating crimes that can happen to a person.  What is it about rape and sexual assault that causes society to blame the victim, to allow the perpetrator to escape punishment, and to largely ignore its very existence?  More importantly, how can these attitudes be changed?

February 13th marks the launch of Take Back The News’ new website, www.takebackthenews.org.  Take Back the News works to raise public awareness about the epidemic of rape, in order to foster greater public dialogue and ultimately greater public responsibility.  The new site reflects the incorporation and revamp of this anti-rape organization, including the formation of a Media Response Project to streamline communications with media outlets, and the distribution of free Community Print Project Kits that college activist groups can use to gather and publish rape survival stories. 

Jen Curley, who organized a Take Back The News Community Print Project at La Salle University in Philadelphia, said, “The impact was incredible. It served as the catalyst for the first Speak-Out on campus. We were worried that people wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing their stories in a large group, but the Speak-Out lasted for three hours, with woman after woman sharing her story—some for the first time ever. Take Back the News made it possible to start. There was a noticeable shift in community awareness after this—no longer could the University pretend that it didn’t happen on our campus. We also had to reprint the publication—we ran out of copies very quickly. The impact on the women who wrote their stories was really powerful—for some of us, it was the first time that we had written them. The women who wrote their stories talked about the power they felt in doing it and about the movement towards healing in the writing.”

Takebackthenews.org continues to publish rape survival stories told in survivors’ own words, as was the project’s original mission beginning in 2001.  These stories are the very heart of the organization’s mission to confront the misrepresentation and underrepresentation of sexual assault by mainstream media. 

The revitalization of this nonprofit organization is due, in large part, to the formation of a Board of Directors comprised of four sisters, Emily Brandt, the project’s founder and a New York City public school teacher; and Julia Brandt, a public school teacher and veteran activist; Laura Blasberg, an attorney; and Maria Brandt, a college literature professor.  The Board has established four main components of the project:

  • Media Response Project: a streamlined system to track and archive media articles regarding rape and to contact editors and reporters regarding our concerns of how rape is misrepresented or underrepresented in the media
  • Creative Writing Program: a program for colleges to use to encourage survivors to write about the circumstances surrounding their assault
  • Book Project: a published book of compiled rape survival stories intended to increase public awareness that sexual assault is an epidemic that must be addressed with greater urgency by our lawmakers, policymakers, and law enforcement agencies
  • Community Print Project Kits: Take Back the News print kits to be sent to community centers and campus women’s centers with instructions on how to raise community awareness through newspaper print projects and related events

In addition to these projects, Take Back the News is building a resource of information on police reporting experiences.  To learn more about these projects, visit www.takebackthenews.org today.

For more information, contact Emily Brandt at Emily@takebackthenews.org or at


Published in: Take Back The News: Four Sisters Confront the Rape Epidemic, Press Release, Take Back The News, 5 February 2006.