How to Prevent Sexual Violence

sexual violence

Sexual violence is any unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature that makes someone feel uncomfortable, upset or scared. It could be anything from a person’s body being touched without their consent to them being sent messages with sexual content. It can happen to people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, sexualities and faiths.

Sexual assault and rape are very serious crimes, and the effects of these events can have a long term impact on survivors. They can lead to a variety of emotional, psychological, social and physical problems. Survivors can also find it difficult to trust others and may remove themselves from their community or family after an act of sexual violence. They may develop health problems including soreness in their genital area and sexually transmitted infections. Survivors can also have trouble sleeping and experience nightmares.

In many cases, survivors of sexual assault or rape do not tell anyone because they don’t believe their story, feel they deserve the abuse or think it’s their fault. This can have a huge impact on the victim’s life and can lead to further physical and emotional abuse or neglect. In addition, the abuser can often continue the abusive relationship by intimidating or manipulating the survivor.

Research shows that there are various risk factors for sexual violence. These can be at a personal level, such as alcohol and drug misuse, poor mental health and uncontrollable anger. They can be at a community or group level, such as social environments, which have the potential to promote or deter violence, such as schools, churches and neighbourhoods. They can be at a societal level, such as a culture of victim-blaming and gender inequality.

There is also a link between sexual violence and the way in which individuals are raised, which can influence the type of person they become and their beliefs about gender. For example, men who grow up in patriarchal cultures that give high value to’manhood’ are more likely to perpetrate sexual violence than those who grow up in egalitarian societies. In patriarchal cultures, women who resist sexual violence can be perceived as an insult to the man’s “manhood” and this may lead to a escalation of the abuse.

There are things you can do to help prevent sexual violence from happening. For instance, if you go out to a party with friends, it is best to stay together and avoid being alone or leaving with people you don’t know very well. If you have been sexually assaulted or raped, try to be assertive and say “No”. If possible, shout or use passive resistance (pretending to faint/vomit/urinate). If this is not feasible, then run away as quickly as you can. If you are concerned about a friend or family member, let them know that they are not responsible for what happened to them and that you are there for them. You can also offer to accompany them to healthcare appointments or support them in taking action by speaking out.