By Rachel Yehoda, Program Coordinator (Prevention & Education)
When it comes to preventing sexual violence, we all have an important role to play. The simple act of being an engaged bystander and speaking out against thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors that promote sexual violence can make a big difference. Sexual violence comes in many different forms and it is our responsibility to speak up and speak out against sexual violence and make a difference in the campus community and beyond.
As a part of our ongoing prevention efforts, MCASA recently re-launched its Speak Up. Speak Out website. Speak Up. Speak Out focuses on engaging bystanders in order to prevent all forms of sexual violence in the college environment. The website caters to a younger demographic (e.g. college-aged students), but offers information that is helpful for anyone interested in learning more about sexual violence prevention and bystander intervention.
When it comes to preventing sexual violence, people often struggle to take action and be engaged bystanders. Sometimes it is a matter of not knowing how to intervene in a situation or fearing judgment from friends and peers. Because so many people do not know how to intervene, it is important to provide education on bystander intervention and give people the skills they need to speak up and speak out. The website offers information on how to be an engaged bystander, including using the 3 D’s of bystander intervention: Direct, Distract, and Delegate. The website also includes an interactive quiz that gives individuals an opportunity to test their knowledge on how to take appropriate action as engaged bystanders in different situations.
In addition to a discussion on bystander intervention, Speak Up. Speak Out provides facts about drugs and alcohol and their relationship to sexual violence. Information on the importance of consent, knowing your legal rights, and Title IX can also be found through the website’s new, easy-to-navigate platform. The website also provides useful information on how to effectively support survivors when they disclose that they have been assaulted. One of the most essential things to remember is that when a friend or peer discloses to you that they have experienced sexual assault, the most important thing you can do is believe them.
We cannot stay silent in the fight against sexual violence. It is vitally important to speak out against attitudes and behaviors that fuel sexual violence in our society. MCASA’s Speak Up. Speak Out website provides people with education and awareness of the issue of sexual violence and provides them with the tools and knowledge necessary to challenge complacent or violent attitudes and behaviors in their community. Together, #WeAreTheChange in ending sexual violence.