Sexual Violence In The News, So Now What?
Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Title IX, #metoo, these are just a handful of examples of stories in the news recently. It is hard to go a day without a new headline involving sexual violence. Which is actually great! Between twitter, celebrity statements, morning talk shows, and other news sources the conversations around sexual violence are finally being had in mainstream media consistently, so now what? What can we be doing to keep this conversation present?
We can do just that, keep the conversation going
Talk to those around you, your family, friends, and co-workers, ask them how they feel about all this news attention. Use current events to start the hard conversations, there really isn’t anywhere to hide from this issues right now. Also talk to people you don’t usually get to reach. With the heightened awareness now is the time to get more and new buy in. Use this as a platform to talk to school boards, local law makers (councilmen, mayors, state legislators), businesses, and so on. Social media is a powerful tool, it was the launching pad for the #metoo campaign after all. We can use this tool to share articles, resources, and stories. The conversation can still continue even virtually.
Now that we have people talking we can start to take action. It is one thing to raise awareness around sexual violence it is another to start to educate and make change. It is time to examine and deal with root causes of sexual violence (culture and gender norms, oppression, sexism, patriarchy, lack of female representation and voices, etc). How can we reverse the normalization of sexual violence? We can make changes, a lot of big changes! We can examine policies from our work places to federal laws. We can change how we teach sexual health education. We can stop victim blaming and excusing violent behavior. These conversations and awareness have created space for us to actively move forward.
With more awareness comes more reporting. There may be people in your life who will come forward as victims/survivors. It’s okay to take a step back and just be there for them. Here is a resource on ways to help someone who has been assaulted. This resource is also great to give to others in your life who might need a little help understanding how they can be supportive to those around them.
These are just three simple next steps to take. There is power in this movement right now and we can all work together to move towards greater change.