Prevention is stopping something before it happens. When we’re talking about sexual violence, prevention means stopping it at the source: attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of people who may abuse and/or assault others.
Traditional approaches focus on what potential victims - often women - should do to reduce their risk of being raped, e.g. self-defense programs, carrying pepper spray and mace, and whistles. While these may be important safety precautions, none of these activities will actually end sexual violence because they are not stopping people from developing abusive behavior.
BARCC’s approach to prevention is to encourage and help communities become less tolerant of sexual violence. Everyone in a community has a role to play in making their community safer by promoting healthy beliefs and challenging sexual aggression. Ideas that could have an impact are, for example, adults talking with teens they know about respecting the personal boundaries of others; talking with friends about how abusive behavior choices are made, and having community discussions about how communities can become less accepting of sexual violence and more supportive of healthy sexuality and relationships.
If you are concerned about someone’s inappropriate sexual behavior, go to Stop It Now to see how you can get help. Research shows that the earlier someone gets help, the better their chances are of changing their behavior and leading a healthy and fulfilling life.
What do you think about this definition of prevention? How would you define it? What do you think people and communities should do to prevent sexual violence? What have you done? Complete a feedback form and let us know.
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Go to Get Active to find out more about how you can take the first steps towards preventing sexual violence in your community.