Most of us are not violent in our relationships, but are we taking every day actions to help end sexual assault and domestic/dating violence?
- Learn about the issue, support survivors and let others know you do not condone violence against women and girls.
- Know that 1 in 5 women will become victims of a completed or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime.
- Understand the majority of rapes are not by some stranger in an alley. Rapists are usually someone the victim knows and trusts.
- Know that violence against women stems from deep-seated cultural constructs and messaging that manhood is connected to power, control and violence.
- Teach young people about consent. Consent is not the absence of “no”, consent is an enthusiastic YES.
- Challenge media messages (TV, movies, ads, video games, music, magazines, etc.) that devalue, degrade or disrespect women or support violence against women.
- Redefine masculinity and choose to be strong without being violent.
- Believe and support survivors. We should not be asking what the survivor was wearing, if she was drunk or about her past relationships, but why someone thinks it’s alright to abuse or sexually assault another human being.
- Choose to end your own silence about the violence that impacts 1 in 3 women globally, every day.
- For more information on how individual men can help end violence against women, see our blog.
Ten additional helpful actions:
- Learn more about the White Ribbon Campaign. Consider taking the White Ribbon pledge and wearing a white ribbon to show your support.
- Ask your workplace to host a “white ribbon day” – encourage staff to wear the white ribbons, put up a white ribbon display, invite the Violence Prevention Team to provide a staff workshop, call (231) 347-1572.
- Believe survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse. Survivors may face doubt, questions and collective minimizing from the people they tell. As an initial response, train yourself to believe first. Listen. Provide support.
- Confront the next 10 comments you hear that minimize rape/domestic violence, dating violence or some other form of violence against women or girls. Here are a few phrases you can use: “When you make comments like that, you make it easier for someone who hears you to think it's okay to use violence against women or girls”, “My sister (friend, room-mate, best friend, mother, aunt…) was abused just like you’re talking about. I can tell you, what you’re saying is totally bogus”, “Rape (domestic violence, dating violence, sexual harassment, etc.) is a serious problem for our community, it's not a joke”, "When you make comments like that, you make it harder for women or men who have been abused/victimized to reach out and get the help they deserve”.
- Challenge 10 people who blame victims! “Women are never at fault when someone else chooses to hurt them”, “So you’re saying that because of the outfit she was wearing, she 'asked for it?' So if you’re wearing an expensive suit you're asking to be mugged, or if you drive an expensive car, you’re asking to be car jacked?”, “I don’t agree”, “I don’t think she 'asked for it' just because she had too much to drink (or agreed to go to his room, or whatever…)", "I've had too much to drink before and I never did it to be assaulted", “The real question isn’t 'why did she stay', the real question is why does he think it’s okay to hit her”.
- Donate $10 a month (or a week, or more if you can) to the 100 Men Campaign to support our efforts to prevent violence against women and girls.
- Get five friends to donate to the 100 Men Campaign: organize a house party and ask each friend who attends to bring $10; talk with your business about hosting a “dress down day” in support of the 100 Men Campaign, and ask each co-worker who dresses down to pay $5-$10 to support the 100 Men Campaign and our efforts.
- Recruit ten men (friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, fellow students, etc) to sign the white ribbon pledge.
- Invite the Violence Prevention Team to present the “Coaching Boys Into Men” program with team members.
- Invite the Violence Prevention Team (VPT) to your school, civic/social or faith-based organization, business or community meeting to present ways in which men can help end violence against women. To arrange for a VPT speaker, call (231) 347-1572.
Adapted from Men's Work, Inc.