Preventing Sexual Violence
It is estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 and 6 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Sexual violence knows no single community, ethnicity or socio-economic group. Sexual violence is a social problem that many of us don’t feel comfortable talking about. But if we aren’t talking about sexual violence, how can we expect to stop it in our communities? And what can just one person do?
Learn to recognize sexual assault.
Whether it’s a sexist joke, harassing someone because of their sexual orientation, groping or an act of rape, it’s sexual violence. We all should know how to recognize sexual assault.
Know what a healthy relationship looks like.
Healthy relationships are based on mutual trust and respect, and when it comes to sex, it should always be between consenting adults. You should be able to communicate your needs and desires clearly and have them be respected by your partner at all times.
Make and encourage smart and safe decisions.
Whether it’s staying away from drugs and alcohol when you’re thinking about having sex, going out in a group and making sure that you watch over your friends, making smart and safe choices is not only for you, it’s for those around you. Talk to your family and friends about making smart and safe decisions.
Don’t give in to behavior that objectifies others and promotes negative stereotypes.
Sometimes going against behaviors that are hurtful to others is difficult. It’s important to us that we are “one of the gang,” so it’s always easier to go along with your friends rather than speak out. But when you hear or see something that you know is inappropriate or hurts another person, it’s important that you don’t participate. And it’s just as important that you stop what’s going on.
Be an engaged bystander.
An engaged bystander is a person who recognizes sexual violence when it happens and takes action to stop it. It’s not always the easiest thing to do. We worry about what others will think of us, it sometimes can be embarrassing to speak up, and too often we leave it up to someone else. But whether it’s walking up and stopping the violence, asking a friend you’re with to jump in or perhaps by just distracting someone, we all have to decide how we will speak up against sexual violence. Now ask yourself, what will you do?
MCASA Prevention Campaigns
Speak Up. Speak Out. focuses on engaging bystanders in preventing sexual violence on college campuses statewide. You can learn more on the website, stay up-to-date on the Pinterest board, and spread the word by ordering these free brochures:
- How You Can Help Prevent Sexual Violence on Campus
- Healthy Relationships
- How Guys Can Help Prevent Sexual Violence on Campus
Other Prevention Resources
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH)
The Rape and Sexual Assault Prevention Program (RSAPP) was created to reduce the statewide incidence of rape and sexual assault and improve service delivery to victims of this violent criminal act.
Men Can Stop Rape
Men Can Stop Rape mobilizes male youth to prevent violence against women. They build young men’s capacity to challenge harmful aspects of traditional masculinity, to value alternative visions of male strength, and to embrace their vital role as allies with women and girls in fostering healthy relationships and gender equity.