By Munyale Kwabe
Today, I would be discussing ways that you and I can prevent and spread awareness of sexual assault. Here are four ways:
- Education: Keeping in mind that one of the major forces behind sexual assault is power and dominance. Most perpetrators use the power they have over someone to take advantage of them. However, one of the major problems of sexual assault is that people don’t really know what it is. I have dealt with many cases where the perpetrator say ‘I didn’t know she was uncomfortable’ or ‘I was only flirting harmlessly’. Education the general public about sexualt assult and appropriateness would go a long way to preventing it.
- Learn how to help victims: This is a very important skill that we must adopt. Everyday, victims shy away from telling their stories or making reports to the proper authorities because of the victimization and backlash/victim blaming (Why were you there? Why did you wear that?) that comes with the crime. We need to understand that nobody ever plans to be a victim and they are not to blame for the crime committed. As a society, we must try and educate ourselves on the best way to help victims. This involves a lot of psychological and mental support system. Choice of words also matters when talking to victims. Remember that they might actually think they are at fault. That is why we have to learn to help them see that a crime against humanity has been committed and it wasn’t their fault.
- Engaging the community: At STER , we believe that engaging the community by having awareness walks and creating events to address issues related to sexual violence in each community is important to ending sexual assault. What does it mean to engage a community? Talk to the leaders of that community, share out pamphlets, organise town hall meeting, talk to parents and when you see someone being abused, report it.
- Donate/Volunteer:Another way that you can actively be involved with the this movement is to make out time or money available to the cause. At STER, we are always open to taking new volunteers and financial support to aid our services that we render for free. Remember that in a global system, what affects one, affects all of us. Let’s end the circle of abuse together.