The Enliven Project Blog

6 Things You Want to Know About Chris Cashman

Organizations are full of hellos and good-byes as people outgrow their roles, start new adventures, or find positions that are pretty much the perfect match for them.  No matter the reason for the departure, good-byes are always bittersweet.  Today I have to say good-bye to one of my favorite colleagues, Chris Cashman, who has led our communications department for the last year and a few months.   Chris is someone who has helped me survive the last round of transitions at work.  He’s been a partner, a confidante, a cheerleader, and most importantly a friend.  This is despite the fact that I was unnecessarily rough on him during the interview process - my only excuse being that it was summer and I was 8 months pregnant.  But now he has a really cool new job at Columbia University School of Business where he’ll help them tell their powerful story to the world.   I’m really proud of him for taking this next professional step, and hope that Columbia’s leadership understands what an asset he will be to their team. When Kevin left, I saluted him with the 10 Things I Love About Kevin Jennings.  In that same spirit - and especially because Kevin, Chris, and I were a great team - I wanted to leave you all with 6 Things To Know About Chris Cashman: 1.  He’s an analytical.  This is from People Styles at Work, which if you haven’t read, you should.  Basically, Chris was the only analytical on a team of drivers, which meant that he quite often prevented us from “ready, fire, aim” and shooting ourselves in the face.  Chris is always seeking to understand context, background, and approach in deeper ways, [...]

Welcome to the Conversation

Welcome to the conversation.  It’s so nice that we are finally having one. Before this week, I was just a woman with a regular day job, a wife, a mom, a friend, and a casual writer on a blog that I shared with my friends.  But I believed deeply that the world needed to have more honest and compassionate conversations about the things that really matter in our lives.  So I started sharing my thoughts and perspectives publicly.  Sometimes in provocative ways. And somehow, accidentally, I found myself in the middle of controversy, watching an infographic my brother and I made go viral overnight.  Tens of thousands of people shared it on Facebook and Twitter, re-blogged it on Tumblr, debated it, loved it, and hated it.  The intention of this graphic was to spark a conversation about how we experience the fear of false accusation of rape as greater than it is in comparison to the problem of rape and sexual violence.  The data behind it has been critiqued, both fairly and unfairly.  And I’ve listened and learned. But we started a conversation, and an important one at that. Sexual violence is the biggest issue we aren’t talking about in America.  You don’t have to look to Steubenville or Brooklyn or India to find stories about sexual violence.  You just need to look around the table at your next staff meeting, classroom discussion, or family dinner to find stories of direct and indirect impact. 16-25% of Americans will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.  Yup, that’s 1 out of 6 men and 1 out of 4 women.  If you don’t know someone who has been directly impacted, you either don’t know very many people or [...]

The Story Behind the Infographic

As a wife, mom, survivor, and regular person until Monday morning, I am overwhelmed and astounded by the reaction and response to the “Truth About False Accusation” infographic, and encouraged by the dialogue that has emerged as a result of it.  Thank you to each and every person who shared it, debated it, loved it, and hated it. We accept and encourage debate on this and any future infographics released by The Enliven Project.  Given the massive amount of media coverage and online discussion about it, I wanted to provide some additional – and more well-thought out – context to the purpose of the graphic and The Enliven Project, as well as to address a bit of criticism about the data we used. The purpose of this graphic is to compare (primarily men’s) fear of being falsely accused of being a rapist to the many challenges around reporting, prosecuting, and punishing rapists. Two key figures drive that point home: A reporting rate of 10% A false reporting rate of 2% The other decision we made was to present data that fell within documented ranges, rather than reflect the findings of a particular report, because of the inherent challenge in collecting data on this issue.  Said another way: at the moment, an argument could be made that every source is flawed in some way.  The reason we pursued a composite approach instead of relying on one study was exactly to spark discussion about the underlying data and definitions, and – perhaps most importantly - the current challenges in data collection. For example – here are a handful of challenges that we encountered while putting together the infographic and, as a result, some limitations of the infographic [...]

The Challenge of Data

One of the key challenges about sexual assault statistics is that it’s nearly impossible to gather accurate and consistent data about incidence and prevalence.  This infographic doesn’t do a perfect job, but it combines data from several sources, both domestic and international. Particularly with sexual violence, the shame and stigma associated with the issue is so significant that it’s hard to count what isn’t being reported.  Think about erectile dysfunction.  Ten years ago, it would have been impossible to know how many people were suffering from erectile dysfunction.  Now that there is a cure, a successful pathway to recovery, people are comfortable talking about it to their doctors and we have much more accurate figures. The purpose of the illustration – and of The Enliven Project – is to provoke new kinds of conversations about sexual violence.  We hope that you have been inspired to have deeper conversations about sexual violence because of what you have seen and read here. For those of you who have asked, here is the background on the stats we used: Some reports suggest that only 5-25% of rapes are reported to authorities.  Other suggest that close to half are reported.  We assumed 10%, which is dramatic, but possible. Of the rapes that are reported, approximately 9 are prosecuted.   Of the prosecuted, 5 result in felony convictions.  This is across the board for all felony prosecutions, not just rape. Assuming that 2% of reported rapes are false and a 10% reporting rate, the graphic assumes that 2 of 1000 rapes are falsely reported (assuming a rape can’t be falsely reported unless it’s reported in the first place) If you have other stats you would like to share, please leave them in comments.  Thank you!

We’re off and running

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Sexual violence is the biggest issue we aren’t talking about in America.  Today, we are talking about it.  And that’s because of all of you. Last night, The Enliven Project was a promising idea. Today, we are launched.  In the last 24 hours, more than 20,000 people have liked, commented, and shared important statistics about sexual violence.  We’ve begun the conversation.  We are on our way. The Enliven Project is a campaign to tell the truth about sexual violence in America, and to convert the most powerful bystanders to new allies.  Every day, in classrooms, breakrooms, and boardrooms, the issue of sexual violence impacts men and women of all backgrounds - yet we are still not talking about it.  The silence leads to shame and stigma, and it prevents ordinary people and powerful leaders from advocating for the change we need. In the coming weeks and months, we will share more surprising and startling statistics about the prevalence and impact of sexual violence, and illuminate how challenging it can be to measure things that aren’t reported or discussed.  We will also share hopeful stories of resilience and recovery from survivors and their champions.  We will give you tools to have new conversations with your followers, friends, family members, and colleagues. The things you see here might make you uncomfortable, angry, or overwhelmed.  We intend to be provocative.  But don’t turn away.  Join us. Like us on Facebook.  Follow us on Twitter.  Join the conversation.  Tell us about the conversations you are having, the reactions you are getting, and what you need from The Enliven Project to get people to pay attention. With respect and gratitude, Sarah

2012: Year in Review

Today is a time to feel hopeful about the year to come, and grateful for the blessings of the year that just passed us by.  The days are slowly getting longer, I have some time off from work, and some mental space to reflect on the previous 12 months.  It’s been quite a year for me and for our family, with lots of adventures and ups and downs.  Looking back on last December, I was just settling back into work after maternity leave and still struggling with the tail end of post-partum blues.  This year, life feels much more hopeful and promising, and I wanted to share some of the highlights from the year with all of you! Watched my sweet baby boy grow from an infant to a full-fledged toddler who walks, talks, and tantrums with the best of them.  It’s been amazing to see him express who he is in the world, and turn into an independent little guy with a life all of his own.  His birth changed me forever, and I can’t wait to see who he becomes. Managed a major transition at work which meant bidding farewell to a wonderful mentor, embracing change, and landing in the absolute perfect role for me with a NEW great boss and a terrific team. Finally got serious about writing, and wrote over 25 blog posts, many about my own personal journey of hurt and healing.  Thank you for reading and liking and commenting - it’s fun to have conversations about the important things in our lives in this space! Ran my first mile.  And ran 14 more after that.  Ran with my brother, in the cold, on the treadmill, and on the road. [...]

By |January 1st, 2013|Enlivening|Comments Off

Cuteness for Life

Everyone is cut out to be cute.  Men, women, gay, straight, young, old – doesn’t matter.  For some, it might take a little practice, but it’s totally possible for all of us.  And it’s much longer lasting, more versatile, and more universal than being hot.  When I’m 80 years old, I’m definitely not going to be hot.  I’ll have wrinkles and gray hair and skin that hangs in strange places.  But I surely plan to be as cute as humanly possible.   Cute also gets things done.  People don’t want to help mean, serious, grown-ups.  Being hot and sexy doesn’t always get you the help you actually want.  But pulling the cute card works universally.  If you step on someone’s toes – literally or figuratively – be cute.  If you are trying to convince the airline to get you on the next flight, be cute.   Here are some tips for bringing on the cute in your life:   Play like a kid.  Come on, let that inner kid out to play.  Being a grown up is boring, so take a break from it every once in a while.  Personally, I love stickers and doodles and heart-shaped hole punches.  I like passing notes to people during boring meetings, organizing the M&Ms on my plate by color, or stacking objects on top of each other until they fall down.  Loosen up, be silly. Talk in funny voices.  Stick your tongue out at people.  If you play, you can get other people to play, and the whole energy around you gets a lot more fun.   Be in your body.  Please believe me when I tell you that your body does not want to sit still for [...]

By |December 7th, 2012|Random Thoughts|Comments Off

The Zen Road Warrior

Business travel has been a part of my professional life since my very first job. There are periods where I travel once every couple of months and periods where I travel every week. And let’s face it, it is really hard to stay Zen on the road. When I was younger, I didn’t give much thought to taking care of myself while traveling and would pretty easily get out of balance - and usually come down with a bad cold and in bed for a week. Now, I am better at caring for myself emotionally and physically while on the road, and wanted to share a few tips that help me get through the planes, trains, and hotels. ; Water: Buy a lightweight water bottle and bring it with you at all times so you don’t have to think about finding and drinking water. When flying, they deprive you of oxygen and only pass through with the drink cart once - maybe twice - during the flight. You’ll feel like hell the next day if you don’t hydrate. Plus, who wants to pay $7 for the bottle of water they leave you in the hotel room? Snacks: I’m a six small meals kind of gal and I have a strange food hoarding disorder when I fly - maybe it’s those stories of long hours on the tarmac and running out of food on planes. Plus, I like to eat healthy, and that can be hard to find in a bag of cheetos. So if it’s a day trip, I pack my regular meals and snacks so I know I will never be without food and I’ll make the right choices during the day. I also [...]

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    The truth about false accusation The truth about false accusation

    The truth about false accusation

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The truth about false accusation

The fear of getting falsely accused of rape just doesn’t compare to the fear of an actual rapist getting away with his or her crime.  Statistics from Justice Department, National Crime Victimization Survey: 2006-2010 and FBI reports.  NOTE (1/7/13):  For more detail on statistics used, please click here.  

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    Hallmark Cards and Cupcakes Hallmark Cards and Cupcakes

    Hallmark Cards and Cupcakes

Hallmark Cards and Cupcakes

The fall is birthday season in my life, so I have been thinking about the kind of friend I am, and the kind of friend I am not. I am not a friend who often remembers to send cards - and will often forget birthdays.  I don’t make crafty gifts and pin photos of them to the Internet.  I often feel badly for not being creative and thoughtful like so many wonderful friends are. What kind of friend am I then? I’m the friend that invites you to move in with them when you go through a heart- wrenching breakup and are so sad you can’t even take care of yourself.  If I haven’t seen or spoken to you in a decade, I will still take you in, and make you tea and whiskey and find good junk tv.  I’m the friend you call when you find yourself in love with a married man because I won’t judge you - I will just try to listen and understand. I’m the friend you come to with secrets - dark ones - because nothing shocks me or makes me think less of you.  I’m the friend who will trash talk your ex-boyfriend when we run into him on the street and you aren’t quite sure what to say - I will make sure he knows he missed out big time.  I’m the friend who will seek justice on your behalf if you are betrayed or hurt by another, and make it my mission to seek vengeance on your enemies.  I’m the friend you come to when you need to cry until you can’t breathe anymore, and I will stroke your hair. And then, when your sobs become [...]

By |November 21st, 2012|All Posts|Comments Off