Everyone understands that sexual violence impacts victims and their families, but the effects of this violent crime on communities and society are less obvious. Sexual violence creates a climate of fear, anger, and/or disbelief in the workplaces, campuses, and communities that it occurs in. Additionally, sexual violence generates criminal justice, medical, and crisis and mental health service expenses. Perhaps most damaging are the lost contributions of survivors.
Preventing such a far-reaching and prevalent social issue as sexual violence may seem overwhelming or even impossible. This mentality implies that there isn’t a solution — or if there is, we can’t achieve it. But we can and we are. There are many practical steps that are currently being taken in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, faith communities, and workplaces. But there are many more things we can do to promote safety, respect, and accountability.
Prevention starts with challenging victim-blaming and believing survivors when they disclose. Individuals can model supportive relationships and behaviors, call out harmful attitudes, and challenge the societal acceptance of rape. Communities and businesses can take action to implement policies that promote safety, respect, and equality. As this year’s slogan declares, prevention is possible!
Join us in helping everyone see their role in preventing sexual violence. You can learn more at www.nsvrc.org/saam, or Start by Believing Campaign at www.startbybelieving.org. For a list of upcoming events in your community visit www.ccwcc.org or like us on Facebook at Canyon Creek Women's Crisis Center.