Sexualized violence can only be prevented when the whole community commits to creating a culture of respect where everyone has the right to sexuality without violence. Here are some prevention tips:
1. Talk to boys and men about gender, challenge expectations about what it means to “be a man”, and question ideas of “femininity” that devalue women.
2. Practice consent: only yes means yes. Consent is a mutual verbal, physical, and emotional agreement that happens without manipulation, threats, or head games. When there is no consent, it is not sex, it is assault.
3. Be an active bystander. Consider it your responsibility to intervene (with regard to your safety) when you see or hear sexist, racist, and homophobic attitudes, behaviours, and comments. These are violent acts that make our community unsafe.
4. Don’t fund sexism. Don’t buy magazines, movies, video games, music, or other products that portray women in degrading ways. Be critical, these messages can be subtle.
5. Say no to slut shaming. There is no such thing as a “slut”. When women’s sexuality is judged, controlled, and degraded, it promotes a culture of violence against women.
For more information about the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, check out www.vsac.ca.