Yes, You Have a Role to Play in Preventing Sexual Violence (In All Its Forms)
Whether you have been an advocate for decades or have only recently been inspired by the powerful stories of survivors coming forward, in a society where sexual violence is normalized there are daily opportunities to interrupt rape culture. And while some forms of sexual violence — such as sexist jokes, catcalling or vulgar gestures — aren’t illegal, they are no less threatening or harmful to the person being victimized. These behaviors contribute to a culture that accepts sexual violence, and one we should not stand for.
In order to change the culture it’s important to acknowledge that not everyone knows what acts are defined as sexual assault. According to new research from the National Sexual Violence Research Center and YouGov, while there is a strong level of awareness among U.S. adults nationwide, men and young adults show lower levels of awareness across all categories of assault. For instance, 56 percent of men vs. 72 percent of women say “watching someone in a private act without their knowledge or permission” is assault, while 67 percent of men vs. 79 percent of women say “sexual intercourse where one of the partners is pressured to give their consent” is assault. Awareness of verbal harassment is particularly low among men and younger adults: less than half view it as assault (48 percent of men and 46 percent of 18-34 year olds).
… One study found that schools using the Green Dot training program saw victimization rates 12 percent lower than schools that did not. Another found that fraternity men trained in bystander intervention were 40 percent less likely to commit sexual violence.