Preventing Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is a social justice issue.  All people have a basic right to be respected. People who commit violence take away that right. It can impact a person’s trust and feeling of safety. 

People commit sexual violence for several reasons:

  • To control another person
  • To use another person for sex
  • To hold power over another person

We also live in a culture that allows sexual violence. This is rape culture. Things that make rape culture possible include:

  • Social inequality
  • Violence seems normal (TV, video games, etc.)
  • Myths about sexual violence
  • Blaming victims 
  • Silence about these issues

All of these things give people who perpetrate sexual violence social license to operate in this way. 

To prevent sexual violence we have to change the culture.  Effective prevention strategies make the connection between all forms of oppression (including racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, adultism, ageism, and others). They talk about how these things create a rape culture, allow inequality to thrive, and make violence seem normal.

You can make small changes to help change the culture. Some ideas are:

  • Building healthy and supportive relationships
  • Speaking up when you hear harmful comments
  • Creating supportive policies in workplaces and schools

To learn more about prevention strategies, check out Sexual Violence and the Spectrum of Prevention, The Perfect Shade of Change, and the Rape Prevention and Education Project

For more information on sexual violence, see these fact sheets: What is Sexual Violence and The Impact of Sexual Violence.




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