Rape Victim Advocates works to support survivors of sexual assault. Since their founding in 1974, RVA’s scope of service has expanded to include the entire spectrum of sexual violence. This includes harassment, abuse, and prevention, with an additional focus on public education and advocacy. RVA needed a new name and brand that reflected this enhanced scope that was more in line with the current dialogue on issues of sexual violence.
The word “rape” is one of the most powerful words in the English language. Using it in the name posed challenges when presenting to grade school students, and donors who found it off putting. It was also triggering to survivors who engaged with case workers. In addition, the term “victim” is no longer considered appropriate, being replaced by “survivor” which connotes greater agency and autonomy. In effect, the organization had three words in their name, two of which were problematic.