How do we end sexual violence? The answer may be that we have to change the culture we are living in to make sexual violence everyone’s problem.
Most college students have already taken their mandatory sexual assault prevention training and education course this year, but will it do anything to stop sexual violence? The facts are sobering: 15-20% of college women still report unwanted sexual interactions and the number of rapes has not decreased since the 1980’s.
Dr. John Foubert, National President of One in Four, and author of seven books on preventing sexual assault, says that college is way too late to start addressing the attitudes that create an environment for sexual violence. High schools need to educate their students on preventing sexual violence. Ashley Warner, author of The Year After: A Memoir, says that education should start teaching students about consent, and what “no” means, in kindergarten.
Another barrier for preventing sexual assault is that it is framed as a women’s problem. Most education focuses on how women can protect themselves from sexual violence. Dorothy Edwards, Executive Director, Green Dot, Etc., believes that men can be women’s greatest ally in stopping the sexual violence because the majority of men do not commit sexual violence.
The bystander in a situation has more power than they think. Dr. Foubert says that a man’s friends have a great influence on him. Edwards reminds us that many men are too shy or intimidated to stop sexual violence. Which makes the need for a shift from saying nothing to stepping in. Edwards says that many organizations have ignored the barriers that society has placed to prevent bystanders from getting involved in these situations. Education should address how to remove the barriers or give bystanders the tools to overcome them.
- Dr. John Foubert, Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Oklahoma State University, National President, One in Four, and author of 7 books on preventing sexual assault
- Ashley Warner, psychoanalyst and author, The Year After: A Memoir
- Dorothy Edwards, ExecutiveDirector, Green Dot, Etc.
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