Many people think they can’t advocate because they don’t know enough about policy, but this should not stop you – your voice matters! Preventing sexual violence takes all of us, working together in big and small ways to create a culture of safety and respect in our society.
With a problem of this magnitude, where does one person start?
Action tip 1: Learn:
Listen to survivor stories.
Learn more about sexual violence: how perpetrators use power and control.
How different forms of oppression intersect. Equality is not the reality in our society. Sexual violence is rooted in power inequities and is connected to all forms of oppression. We need to send a strong message that it isn’t OK when others aren’t treated with dignity and respect.
Recognizing rape culture happening every day.
What enthusiastic consent looks like.
Action tip 2: Think and prepare:
Treat bystander intervention like first aid!
Engage bystanders can prevent sexual violence. Together, we can interrupt harmful attitudes and behaviors before they have an opportunity to escalate into violence. Read up on what you could do before situations arise. Each of us can model the change we want to see and promote healthy, respectful relationships. Talk with friends, read articles, brainstorm.
Action tip 3: Practice your consent skills:
Healthy sexuality is rooted in respect. Consent is a clearly communicated, enthusiastic agreement. It does not involve coercion. Someone who is impacted by alcohol or other drugs cannot give consent. Just because someone has consented once does not mean that they consent to future sexual activity. Always be sure you have consent. However, It’s not just for sex! Asking for a hug or checking to see if you can take someone’s photo is a great way to practice consent every day.
Action tip 4: Support survivors:
Listen to them.
Ask them how you can help.
Action tip 5: Take Action:
Now that you’ve thought about it; use one of your many tools to challenge oppressive or sketchy behavior.
Action tip 6: Speak out:
Create a video, piece of art, write a blog post, publish articles and infographics, talk with friends and peers. It is sometimes easy to think that sexual assault affects only the perpetrator and the victim. In reality, sexual violence affects all of us, and it’s our responsibility to create an environment in which behaviors and beliefs that promote sexual assault are not tolerated.