Who We Are.
Space to Speak is a youth run organization that is dedicated to giving youth a leading voice in the sexual violence prevention (SVP) movement while also changing the stigma of sexual violence at a legislative and cultural level. To do this, we focus specifically on the effect sexual violence has on young people and strive to raise awareness of the overarching issues through education and by encouraging conversation between young people. We support survivors across all boundaries including but not limited to political, racial, religious, and gender.
- Amplify young voices on sexual violence prevention (SVP)
- Support and empower survivors
- Change the stigma of sexual violence
- Show rape apologists the impact of their actions
- Educate young people on sexual violence
- Include men in the conversation
Copyright Kayli Sweeney
Hi! I’m an 18-year-old activist and organizer from Evergreen, Colorado. Currently, I am involved with Bridge the Divide, ThinkOcean, and #BUILTBYGIRLS. I am very passionate about my work, particularly regarding sexual violence prevention, environmental protection, and Deaf education. In my spare time, I love to volunteer, especially with senior citizens. My other favorite pastimes include writing, singing, and watching Friends and sports.
Why I Care
In today’s America, sexual violence is trivialized and someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. Survivors range from children to adults and across every political, racial, religious, and gender boundary. And yet, survivors are continuously being silenced by an array of ideas that diminish their experiences and justify perpetrators. This is not okay.
My first experience with sexual violence was about four and a half years ago. At the time, I knew I had been violated but I didn’t know anyone that could relate, and I didn’t have the courage to start a conversation. My experience took a heavy emotional and psychological toll on me and, in the years that followed, I found physical intimacy, trusting my peers, and sleeping at night very difficult. I struggled in silence for many years, and it wasn’t until after I left my hometown that I decided to share my thoughts on the topic of sexual violence. I am speaking out about this issue now because of the immense impact it has had on me in the past years, and because my passion to connect and support survivors while also trying to protect others from having similar experiences is far greater than my fear of judgment or failure.
I’m a first year honors student at Colorado State University pursuing a degree in computer science. Along with programming, I’m passionate about cars, animals, and spending time with close friends. I live in Fort Collins, Colorado during the school year and go home to Lafayette, Colorado during breaks and the summer.
Why I Care
Sexual violence is a serious problem across not only America but the entire world. It affects everyone in varying degrees, and it’s not okay just to accept that it happens. When I look at the statistics I’m sickened. When I listen to the stories told to me by my peers and friends, I’m filled with an overwhelming sadness but also a need to make a change. I started by changing my own life, but now I hope to be able to make a bigger change.
I strongly hold the opinion that sexual violence does not only affect those who are directly impacted by it. The women in my life who haven’t had an experience with sexual violence have voiced to me that there is always a fear that something could happen to them. These fears impact the places that women are comfortable with going and in many cases make them feel like they can’t go anywhere alone. I believe that if we can change the culture we can make people feel much safer in their daily lives. With women living in less fear of what could happen to them and with men living with less concern that the women around them may be afraid of them, everyone can lead happier lives.