SafeBAE: Breaking barriers one school at a time
The Justice spoke with Abbie Brier ‘24 who is currently a member of the board of directors for the organization SafeBAE.
Content warning: topics around sexual violence and death are mentioned in this article.
For the community members of the non-profit organization Safe Before Anyone Else, prevention of sexual violence through education and advocacy are crucial to improving the lives of youth today. Founded in 2015 by a group of sexual-assault survivors, SafeBAE plays a pivotal role in ensuring that youth survivors throughout the nation are informed about their rights and the resources available to them. Daisy Coleman, a co-founder of the organization who sadly passed away in 2020, continues to be remembered through the online awareness tag #ForDaisy and the Daisy Coleman Peer Educator Program. The organization strives to create educational resources and effectively spread awareness about sexual violence to middle and high schools throughout America.
In the National School Sexual Violence Climate Survey conducted by the organization in 2023, one out of every three students agreed that school staff did not actually help assault victims. With these statistics in mind, members of SafeBAE work together to ensure that students throughout the nation are educated about topics such as consent and their Title IX rights, and that youth feel empowered in their work towards the organization’s mission.
Abbie Brier ’24, who majors in Health: Science, Society, and Policy as well as a minor in business, works as a member of the SafeBAE’s board of directors. In a Nov. 30 interview with the Justice, Brier talked about her role with the organization and the impact that SafeBAE has on schools across the country. At the age of 15, Brier first heard about the organization through a friend’s father, who had recommended it to her. By the time she was 16 Brier, along with seven other students, led an event with over 700 attendees which marked the beginning of her lifetime connection with the organization.
As part of the board of directors, Brier is in charge of the programming for schools throughout the Rhode Island district. Brier partakes in the process of decision making for the organization, a unique aspect of the non-profit: SafeBAE is completely student-led and works with students in high schools and colleges to train them in peer advocacy by hosting events in their area. Brier enjoys being able to take on a leadership role and still be able to physically visit the schools that she works with, making valuable connections with students and leaving a positive impact. When asked if there should be a SafeBAE chapter at Brandeis she said, “I definitely think there should be one.” She described her project in one of her classes titled “Provocative Art” taught by Prof. William Chalmus (CAST/THA), in which she raised awareness about sexual violence in hopes of inspiring other students to also be advocates in their communities.
SafeBAE chapters create unique communities and safe spaces for students who are sexual violence survivors, as well as their allies. They work to ensure that proper action is taken within schools by advocating for students and supporting them should they choose to report their assault. Having worked with SafeBAE for over seven years, Brier has learned the importance of creating safe havens for victims of sexual violence and educational spaces that teach students to stand up for themselves as well as others in their communities. Brier also briefly discussed an accountability initiative by the organization, in which identified perpetrators are taught about the severity of their actions and understand the harm behind sexual violence. The organization works hard to combat sexual violence through a variety of approaches and initiatives aiming to break the stigma for survivors, educate the youth, and provide a platform for training in peer education.
Through interactions stemming from SafeBAE, Brier has come across adults who never had an organization like SafeBAE in their lives. “I do not not know how I would have done this without the organization,” Brier stated. She said that SafeBAE allowed her to share her story with others in an empowering context. This is the vision Daisy Coleman had in mind when co-founding SafeBAE: An organization that could turn feelings like shame, fear, and disorientation into power, strength, and advocacy.
With chapters in 47 states, SafeBAE has garnered a widespread presence in school communities by advocating for preventative education and giving those who need it the opportunity to heal and feel empowered. With partner organizations such as Know Your IX and Survivor Love Letter, SafeBAE is continuing to pursue its goal of spreading its mission to all schools nationwide. Members of the organization hope to expand later on to all 50 states as well as countries outside the United States — awareness and education should not stop at any border.
College students looking to participate in the organization can visit SafeBAE’s website and learn more about the different ways that they can contribute to their community and make a difference in the world around them. The role of advocating for others and speaking up for oneself is not a simple one, but with the support network of organizations like SafeBAE, more college and university students can feel confident in their voices.