How Can I Make A Difference?

Brave survivors continue to share their stories, and by doing so, have created a wave of awareness of sexual violence. This increased awareness has left many wondering, “What can I do to help?” There are many ways you can make a difference to survivors and help prevent sexual violence and assault. You can donate or volunteer at organizations that support survivors or can provide direct support by listening to and believing survivors. You can also make sure you step in when you see injustice happening.

There are many ways you can help prevent sexual violence or harassment when you see it happening. Just being aware of what’s happening around you can be useful and will let you step in to help, even when you aren’t directly involved in the situation.

Stepping in could help the victim of harassment or assault by showing that they are not alone or by giving them the chance to leave the situation. You don’t need to act heroically to make a huge difference in someone’s life—sometimes just being aware of what is going on around you and offering a simple word or action can make all the difference.

Your Actions Matter

Below are a few ways you can step in to help protect those around you and show that sexual violence and harassment should never be tolerated.

  • Be aware of others around you. Keep an eye on a friends or strangers who are intoxicated with drugs or alcohol.
  • Speak up. When someone makes a joke or inappropriate comment about sexual assault, speak up and let them know that sexual assault is a serious issue affecting many people.
  • Create a distraction. If you see someone being harassed or fear they may be assaulted, do what you can to interrupt the situation while not risking your own safety. Sometimes a simple distraction can give the person at risk a chance to get to a safe place.
  • Communicate with the victim. Talk directly to the person who might be in trouble. Ask questions like “Who did you come here with?” or “Would you like me to stay with you?”
  • Involve an authority. Sometimes the safest way to step in is to refer to a neutral party with the authority to change the situation, like a boss, colleague, friend, or security guard.
  • Enlist others. It can be intimidating to approach a situation alone. Enlist another person to help. When it comes to speaking up, sometimes there is power in numbers.
  • Report. If you feel safe doing so, report sexual violence, harassment, and inappropriate behavior in your home, school, or workplace.

Whether you’re keeping an eye on a friend or stranger who is intoxicated, speaking up when someone makes a joke about sexual assault, or reporting inappropriate behavior in your workplace—taking an active role to step in can change how others view and react to sexual violence and harassment. Learn more about bystander intervention and the steps you can take to help prevent sexual assault. If you suspect that someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are steps you can take to support that person and show you care.

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