Step up for ending sexual violence

10 steps provided by The Blue Bench

Get in contact with your local rape crisis center and find out about the services and programs they offer. That way, you’ll be able to help direct people in your life to resources if they need them.

If your school does not already offer sexual violence prevention and education programming, talk to administrators or ask your parents to request that your school starts requiring multi-session prevention programs for students.

Go through your social media and unfollow or unsubscribe to anyone who promotes violence against women, makes misogynistic or harmful comments or defends rape culture.

Don’t be afraid to talk about sexual violence. Encourage friends, parents, siblings and classmates to have an open dialogue about what we can do to better support survivors in our community and educate ourselves on how to prevent sexual assault.

Be an active bystander. If you see or hear harmful or inappropriate behavior such as rape jokes, catcalling, etc., intervene if you feel safe doing so. Often times a simple “Hey that’s not cool”, even within your own friend group, can go a long way in eliminating rape culture.

Volunteer at a local organization. Rape crisis centers, for example, often need volunteers to help on the support hotline, work in the office or help staff fundraisers and other events.

Start by believing survivors. If someone you know comes to you and tells you they were assaulted, avoid harmful victim-blaming statements like “What were you wearing?”, “Are you sure you aren’t just overreacting?” etc. and instead let them know you believe them, it wasn’t their fault and offer to help support them in whatever way they need.

Attend events pertaining to the issue. This could include speakers at your school, fundraisers, movie screenings and more that focus on gender-based violence.

Organize a fundraiser or donation. Get some friends together to help raise money or collect items for organizations that are working to end sexual assault in your community. Often times organizations are in need of office supplies, clothing, or other specialized items for therapy such as essential oils, yoga equipment, art supplies and more. Contact your local rape crisis center to get a specific sense of what they need.

Commit to learning about the issue and being open minded. Over the last few years, and especially since the #MeToo Movement, there are lots of articles, podcasts, and more which provide thoughtful commentary on how to change the conversation about sexual assault. Seek out these kinds of resources and share them with the people in your life.