Building a safer and more positive sexual culture and eliminating sexual misconduct from our campus is a huge and ongoing project - and a project that’s impossible to accomplish without everyone’s active help! There are many things you can do.
Fostering a positive culture
Sexual violence is enabled by cultural norms that treat sexual pressure and disrespect as okay. By refusing to go along with those norms, you can help our culture change. What does this look like? Show respect and regard for all members of our community. Give your support to those who have borne the brunt of others’ disrespect. Recognize the legitimacy of many different sexual choices and identities—resist the notion that there is one right way. Be attentive and mindful in your own social, romantic, and sexual relationships. Intervene whenever you see signs of pressure or disrespect, even small ones. These everyday positive practices add up to make major changes in our campus culture.
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When you see someone in a situation that seems threatening, pressuring, or even just uncomfortable, you can intervene to make sure they have a way out of the situation and stay safe. Sometimes this may involve stepping into a tense situation or calling the police, but more often it’s much smaller and easier than that. Bystander intervention can be as simple interrupting a pressured sexual interaction at a party to ask someone if they want some snacks, or voicing your concern at a flippant comment about rape. For more ideas, check out this collection of tips and anecdotes.
Supporting a friend who has experienced sexual misconduct
Even with all the professional resources, where do people most often turn for help and support? To their friends. And when their friends come through for them, it’s a very powerful thing.
The SHARE site has a whole page of great suggestions that you should definitely read. A few key points: Listen to your friend. Believe them. Let them take charge in deciding what to do next. Be vocal in your support!
Supporting a close friend through a formal UWC process has some particular challenges. The CCEs have made a series of videos on the topic – we think you’ll find them helpful.
Do you have ideas that aren't on this list? Feel free to email us at email@example.com - and if you're a Yale undergraduate, flag down or grab a meal with one of your college CCEs. We're always happy to hear new ideas and collaborate with others in the community.