April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the US. To learn more visit nsvrc.org/saam.
Your voice matters when it comes to talking about sexual violence.
We all have preconceptions, and undoubtedly, misunderstandings about sexual violence, consent and healthy relationships. Many of us have had limited or no education given around these topics during primary, secondary and higher education, and it can seem such a huge issue that we don’t always feel able to talk about it or understand our role in talking about it.
How we talk about sexual violence matters. First off, it’s so important that we feel able to talk about it, and secondly, that we talk about it in a way which lets survivors know that they are believed and supported.
What can you do?
Here are 3 steps to talking about sexual violence:
1. You can begin by identifying your current understanding and beliefs around sexual violence. What do you know about it? Have you seen representations of sexual violence on TV and in films? In reality, many portrayals of sexual violence are not representative of what many survivors experience. The media may choose to focus on only one aspect of the crime, portray it from a bias perspective, or miss parts of the crime entirely. Have a think about the portrayals you have seen and how they may have affected your own views.
2. When you hear or see something which does not seem right – say it. Whether its an advertisement which you think puts the blame on victims, an article or blog or a joke or comment from a friend, speak up to let them know that you do not agree. It may seem like a small thing, but you can shape the conversation and open up people’s understandings by speaking up.
3. If someone you know speaks to you about experiencing sexual violence, let them know you are there for them, and that what happened to them is not their fault. Many victims blame themselves for what happened, and may have been told by others to stay quiet about what happened, or they may actually not identify that what happened to them is sexual violence. You can let them know you believe them and signpost them to support.
You can create change with your words – the words we use everyday ultimately shape our understanding of the world around us. By deciding to speak up and use your voice you are part of the solution towards ending sexual violence. Learn more about consent, plus healthy relationships.
Get Involved in UK SAYS NO MORE Week 2018!
It’s not long now until UK SAYS NO MORE Week from 21-27 May, a time for everyone – individuals, non-profit and corporate organisations, communities and groups across the UK – to unite and keep the conversation going around domestic abuse and sexual violence.This year, we must all consider how we can be part of a united effort, thinking about #WhatICanDo.
Find out what you can do during UK SAYS NO MORE Week and stay tuned for updates here!