Although society is beginning to make headway and challenge the stigma surrounding sexual assault, there is still a very long way to go. Historically, sexual assault prevention programs have focused on teaching woman how to protect themselves against sexual assault. (Don’t drink too much, don’t walk alone at night, don’t wear provocative clothing…)
The problem is that this approach to prevention puts the responsibility on the survivor and not the perpetrator. It adds to the shame a guilt a survivor feels by contributing to the feeling that it is there something more they should have done to prevent this from happening to them. These protection tips focus on stranger assaults, which is the minority of sexual assault cases. The protection method of prevention reinforces a culture that routinely blames the survivors of sexual violence. Fortunately, there has been growing support for a more comprehensive approach to sexual assault prevention, that addresses the behaviours and attitudes that encourage sexual violence in the first place. In order to end sexual violence, we need to start at the root of why it is happening. Why are potential perpetrators choosing to commit sexual assault?
S.T.A.N.D. vows to passionately advocate to end the stigma around sexual violence and end victim shaming!
Change Starts With Us
HOW YOU CAN TAKE A S.T.A.N.D. AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT:
- Don’t Commit Sexual Assault: Learn what consent is, and practice healthy relationships.
- Believe and Support Survivors: The stigma surrounding sexual assault makes it very difficult for survivors to talk about their experience. Survivors think that no one will believe them and that they will be blamed for what happened to them. As a result, most are reluctant to seek support. It is so important to believe survivors that choose to talk about their experience. Supporters can positively impact the survivor’s healing process.
- Educate yourself: Given approximately 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males will be sexually assaulted in their life, it is inevitable that this issue will touch your life. Please learn more about the issues in our education section so you can provide adequate support for survivors and engage in educated discussions on the issue.
- Never Blame the Survivor: It can be difficult to believe that close friends and acquaintances can commit sexual assault. It may be easier to focus the blame on the survivor. However, blaming the survivor rather than holding the perpetrator accountable can cause significant harm. Remember the survivor is never responsible for being sexually assaulted. There is only one cause of sexual assault: the perpetrator chose to commit sexual assault and they are the only ones to blame.
- Be Critical Of Media: Media is full of content that normalizes sexual assault, we often do not even realize that what we are watching is sexually violent. The stereotypical male hero tends to be strong, stoic and sexually dominate, while the ideal woman is portrayed as fragile, emotional, and sexually submissive. Studies have shown that these types of subtle messages may predispose men to violence against woman.
- Recognize the Power of Language: Words hurt, using language that degrades and objectifies women contributes to gender inequality, which is strongly connected with increases of sexual violence. Saying things like “that exam raped me” or “we raped that team”, even if we only mean it as slang creates an environment where sexual assault is trivialized and condoned.
- Speak Out: We are all exposed to attitudes and behaviours that are degrading and promote rape culture. It is our responsibility to change this culture. Use your voice and speak up when you hear jokes, and stereotypes that blame survivors. There is a good chance that a survivor could be sitting next to you in silence SPEAK UP, STAND AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT!