(Photo courtesy of Anoushka Adusumalli)
Cerritos High School

Teen works to raise awareness about sexual violence

Larry Nassar was almost able to get away with sexually abusing 250 women. That sentence reveals so much about our society, and the immense amount of suffering each of those women went through. The worst part about it all was that they didn’t even know they were being manipulated. But what if they did?

The answer to that question inspired the mission of We Rise Above. This nonprofit organization strives to educate people about how to identify it, prevent it, report it and raise general awareness on this highly stigmatized topic along with providing a safe space for victims.

The idea for this organization all began with a high schooler — Thrisha Senthilnathan, a senior at Cerritos High School. After learning about Larry Nassar’s case in 2018, she dared to question: “What if people knew more about sexual violence?” She didn’t just stop there, though. 

Senthilnathan first aimed to teach people in her community about sexual violence, and soon enough, people caught onto what she was doing, and now, WRA is growing quickly with the help of its more than 500 volunteers internationally.

Senthilnathan said the reason she started WRA “was so that sexual harassment and prevention was brought up in schools and people would start feeling more safe at school and in the workplace.” 

It is currently being implemented in numerous schools throughout Southern California as a program to educate the next generation on this overlooked issue.

WRA especially tackles the new problems that the youth currently face like online sexual violence. This youth to youth connection instead of an adult to youth connection makes WRA feel more approachable and accessible to students. Once WRA was implemented in high schools, the entire community began to change because more people felt safer sharing their stories and others became more willing to listen.

WRA has not only affected the school environment, but also places like survivor shelters through donations and interviews in podcasts, youtube channels and survivor spotlights. On top of that, WRA hosts self defense awareness weeks, workshops and seminars. Through all these projects, WRA hopes to be implemented in every school across the United States to hopefully completely eliminate sexual violence.

Find WRA on all platforms under the name @weriseaboveofficial.

(Photo courtesy of Anoushka Adusumalli)
(Photo courtesy of Anoushka Adusumalli)