Sexual violence can be prevented. Every person can work to prevent sexual violence by promoting healthy and positive relationships that are based on respect, safety, and equality.
Every person has the ability show others how to be respectful. This can be as simple as privately asking a friend not to make hurtful or uncomfortable comments about rape or sexual assault or by publicly and safely calling out harmful behaviors. Taking action in some way, shape, or form begins to change the thoughts and behaviors of a community.
For example, a friend of your family makes “jokes” or comments about a high-profile case of sexual assault. They make it seem like it’s the victim’s fault. In this situation, you could:
- Share the information you know about sexual violence and say that it is never the victim’s fault.
- Ask respectful questions about the person’s attitude. Why do they feel that way? Maybe having a discussion could change their attitude or belief.
- Tell them those comments are not appreciated in your home/workplace/presence and you would like it if they stop.
Respond in a helpful way when someone tells you that they have been sexually violated.
It is likely that you know someone who has been sexually assaulted. The first person a victim/survivor tells has a profound impact on if that person begins the process of healing or is further hurt by having told. Things you can do:
- Listen without judging or interrupting.
- Tell them it wasn’t their fault. No one has the right to abuse.
- Tell them you believe them.
- Ask how you can be helpful.
- Refer them to a local rape crisis center for counseling and services.
Use social media to promote healthy behaviors in relationships, and prevent sexual violence.
Share information that identifies healthy versus unhealthy behavior and reflects the realities victim/survivors face.
Donate your time and/or money.
- Join a group that is dedicated to preventing sexual violence.
- Volunteer at a local rape crisis center.
- Donate to your local rape crisis center or to a PCAR fund.
These small actions can create a big change.