Sexual Violence can be prevented. This page discusses some key concepts related to preventing Sexual Violence, such as Victim Blaming and Gender Roles.
How Can We End Sexual Violence in our Community?
To truly prevent sexual violence, we must understand the culture that sustains this behavior. While risk reduction strategies are important, researchers note that primary prevention, or true prevention, of sexual assault cannot and should not rely solely on risk reduction practices.
Rape culture is a term or concept used to describe a culture where sexual violence is common and in which relevant attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone sexual violence. Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include:
- Victim blaming
- Sexual objectification
- Trivializing or minimizing rape
To prevent sexual violence, everyone in the community has a responsibility to work to recognize cultural influences that allow sexual violence to continue, and strive to change the culture.
At UWF, we actively work to end sexual violence by educating and encouraging all students, faculty, and staff to get involved throughout the academic year in a number of ways. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join in the conversation about promoting sexual violence activism. Check out the Wellness Services website to see all the services and activities we offer the campus related to sexual assault prevention.
Issues of Consent
- Consent is active, not passive. Silence or lack of resistance does not imply consent.
- No always means No but Yes does not always mean Yes. Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a "no."
- Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
- Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
- Consent gained through coercive behavior is not consent. Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
- Sign the Consent is Sexy Pledge!
- This video, produced by VCU, addresses issues of consent in a humorous way:
Can I Wear Your Hat?
Follow this link to download the Can I Wear Your Hat? Video Transcript in PDF format.
Alcohol and Sex
- When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation.
- Understand the role society and media have on not just normalizing but promoting sexual behavior while intoxicated without any recognition of the legal and personal issues that arise from that behavior.
- No matter what popular or mainstream media promotes, according to the law, alcohol and sex do not go together.
- Question media messages that promote sex under the influence without ever addressing the negative and traumatic implications this can have for someone who was not truly able to consent due to being intoxicated.
- Resist messages that promotes "taking advantage" of someone who's judgment is impaired.
- By blaming victims for their own assault, we minimize the issue, keep perpetrators from being held accountable, and decrease the likelihood that victims will come forward, report, or receive fair treatment.
- Recognize that even if someone behaved in ways that were risky, they never deserve to be "punished" by being sexually assaulted.
- 100% of the time, the burden of blame lies on the person who chose to assault another person.
- Recognize that there is a link between experiencing or perpetrating sexual violence with those who most stringently adhere to limited gender stereotypes.
- Understand what hypermasculinity is, where pressure comes from for men to conform to behaving in ways that are hypermasculine, and recognize the deteriorating effects this has on their own ability to express themselves fully, have equitable relationships, and be psychologically healthy.
- Advocate to move beyond sexual double standards for men and women.
- Know that sexual violence is not a "Woman's Issue". Men have a very important place in preventing sexual assault above and beyond simply not perpetrating assault. Men Can Stop Rape is another great resource for men who want to help eradicate sexual assault.
- Media Literacy provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms - from print to video to the Internet.
- It is important to be able to critically deconstruct messages promoted through various media channels that promote sexual violence both directly and indirectly, such as victim blaming sentiments, sexual objectification of men and women, or advertisements from the alcohol industry that promote the use of alcohol for sexual power and success.
- Recognize that we all have a role to play in preventing sexual assault by intervening. Please visit the Bystander Intervention page on this site for more information about this issue.
- If you see something, say something. If a situation seems questionable, speak up and get others to notice it too.