There are many different ways that you are able to help prevent sexual and relationship violence and create a culture that promotes respect, consent and boundaries.
Make sure that you personally are getting consent, respecting boundaries and practicing healthy relationship qualities:
- If you are initiating a relationship or sexual interaction make sure you have clear permission for each step. Learn more about affirmative consent here.
- Assess your relationships, both romantic and platonic, to make sure you are practicing healthy actions a relationship, such as open communication, respect, trust, independence and being supportive. Learn more about healthy relationships here.
- Respect when someone declines an advance or sets a boundary. Rejection can be really difficult, but it is important that you still respect someone’s decision, even if you do not agree with it or it is not the outcome that you were hoping for
- Seek professional help now if you are emotionally, verbally, physically or sexually abusive to others, or have been in the past. (24/7 resources: The Barnes Center at The Arch Counseling: 315.443.8000 or Vera House: 315.468.3260).
Learn more about rape culture and societal attitudes and beliefs that normalize violence. Some examples of these attitudes and beliefs include sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, rape myths, victim blaming and objectification:
- Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate violence, and work toward changing them. Connect with the many resources on campus to assist in this exploration.
- Think critically about the media that you are consuming and have conversations with friends and family about social issues/pressures and what each of us can do to work toward ending sexual and relationship violence.
- Think before purchasing any magazine, renting any video, subscribing to any website, or buying any music that portrays people in a sexually degrading or abusive manner.
- Mentor and teach boys about how to be men in ways that allow men to freely access a full range of emotions and behaviors. Lead by example.
Be a prosocial bystander and intervene. There are many different strategies that you can use to safely intervene:
- If a friend, classmate or teammate is disrespectful or abusive to others, consider your options. For instance, you might try to talk with your friend and urge them to seek help. If you don’t know what to do, consult one of the many resources on campus.
- If you hear or see something that is promoting rape culture, be a prosocial bystander and intervene.
- If you suspect that someone close to you is being abused, stalked or has been sexually assaulted, ask if you can help.
- Learn more here.
Get involved or be an ally to those who are working to end all forms of violence. Support the efforts of campus and community-based organizations:
- Attend Wellness Leadership Institute workshops, other campus workshops, Take Back the Night and other public events to learn more about relationship violence, sexual violence, stalking and sexual harassment
- Attend programs, take courses, watch films, read articles and books about gender roles and about violence. Attend workshops and programs aimed at reducing bias and hate crimes and increasing awareness of diversity issues on college campuses.
- Be an ally to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities by speaking out against bias and hate language. Support and involve yourself in LGBT organizations and causes. Connect with the LGBT Resource Center on campus at 315.443.3983. Raise money for rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other community organizations that work to end violence. If you belong to a team, a fraternity or sorority, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.
- Join one of the many Recognized Student Organizations that address these issues such as Femme Noire, I’m That Girl, It’s On Us, Pride Union, Sex S.Y.M.B.A.L.S. or S.A.S.S.E. Student Association
- Volunteer with community resources such as Vera House Inc., Planned Parenthood, and others in the community.
- Consider applying to become a Peer Educator Encouraging Health Relationships and Sexuality. Applications open in January for the following academic year.