Sexual violence (SV) is any sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent.

Sexual violence is a serious problem that can have lasting, harmful effects on victims and their family, friends, and communities. ACT RS is on a mission to end sexual violence by bringing the community together to stand up against the social context that surrounds sexual violence. This includes harmful gender stereotypes, privacy and silence, violence, and power and control. Everybody can play a role in preventing sexual violence.

ACT RS aims to establish norms of respect, dignity, equality, safety, speaking out, and helping others. Here are some things you can do:

1) Educate Yourself: Stop and analyze what society and the media feed us. Look for hidden messages of violence. Did you know that 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual violence sometime in their life? This can range from sexist attitudes and actions to rape and murder. Educate yourself from reputable sources and don’t pass on sexist comments or beliefs. Challenge harmful messages that you see and hear.

2) Gender Roles: Take a look at gender roles and stereotypes. Limited roles for women and narrow definitions of masculinity are often portrayed in media. When you tell a child, “You throw like a girl” or “That’s not a boy’s color”, think about what message you are sending to our youth. Gender stereotypes often convey that being a woman makes you weak and passive. On the other hand, boys are taught that showing emotions is a weakness. Yet we want our boys to grow into caring husbands and fathers.

3) Be the change you wish to see: Model healthy relationships to your children and others. Treat all people with respect.

4) Speak out: Avoid being a passive bystander. Speak up when you hear an inappropriate joke or comment.