History of Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Activists (formerly the Committee Organizing Rape Education)
SARVA was founded as CORE in the Fall quarter of 1991 by the ASUW Sexual Assault Committee. This was in response to the release of the staggering national statistic of one in four women becoming victims of sexual assault before their college graduation. The first CORE meeting took place on January 27, 1992 with approximately 20 men and women. Throughout the duration of the quarter each volunteer received 30 hours of training. The training was implemented by the Seattle Rape Relief, staff from Hall Health as well as the Addictive Behavior Research Center. Topics covered throughout training included definition of rape, myths, statistics, common reactions to rape, handling disclosure, rape culture, the violence continuum, alcohol and rape and presentation skills.
Immediately following the completion of training, letters were distributed to student organizations, residence halls, and the Greek system explaining exactly what CORE did as well as offering free presentations. Spring quarter of that year, CORE presented to 15 fraternities, residence halls, one class room and for the First year orientation staff. The following year CORE presented throughout the Fall quarter.
Two years after the creation of CORE, in March of 1993, the group along with the ASUW president proposed a Pilot program for a Sexual Assault Center on the University of Washington Campus. The purpose of the center was to unify campus resources through the coordination of existing services, assessing campus needs, creating and coordinating educational prevention programs about rape, and to oversee a peer education program. The proposal included a request for at least one full time staff member who was professionally trained and who specialized in sexual assault issues. It was also requested that a part time student would be hired to lead the peer education program. Following the proposal, the Sexual Assault Referral and Information Service was opened in 1994. At that time it was staffed by two graduate students. The organization was student run until 1997 until the first full time trained specialist was hired. Following this year CORE and SARIS incorporated “relationship violence” into their programs. Currently CORE continues the peer education programs throughout the Greek system, Freshman Interests groups, and various other groups around the University of Washington campus. CORE now has a staff of three which includes the director, assistant director, and a program coordinator. However, they are mainly student run by volunteers who are responsible for leading peer education programs throughout University on issues of sexual assault and relationship violence.
In 2011, CORE leadership, with input from current volunteers, decided to change the name from the Committee Organizing Rape Education to Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Activists, to better reflect the work, purpose, and goals of the organization. This name change became official in June, 2011. In 2013, SARVA continued its shift in focus by replacing its Fall presentations to the Greek Community with increased campus-wide programming, introducing an intern program, and transforming the two-quarter long training to a quarter-long workshop series.
Presently, SARVA is continuing to make structural changes to enhance its outreach and effectiveness, primarily through increased opportunities for student involvement as interns and designated volunteers. For more information about getting involved with SARVA, check out our student involvement page.