Wednesday, 9 November 2016

How can you Prevent Sexual Assault?

Every single one of us has the ability to look out for each other. Even the small things count, like giving someone a lift home from a party or standing up to someone who is behaving in a threatening way - anyone can help prevent sexual assault, even you!

What is a bystander?

A person who is present when an event, such as a sexual assault, takes place, but isn't involved is called a bystander. 

On average there are only 42,596 rapes reported in South Africa in 2015/16, which means that for every 100,000 people in the country there were 77 rapes reported. The majority of these crimes are committed by someone the victim knows.

This is why it is so important to realise that bystanders can play a part in preventing crimes like sexual violence.

What can you do to prevent sexual assault?

Have you ever heard of the term "bystander intervention"? This is when someone who isn't directly involved in the situation intervenes and tries to help. If you have the chance to step in and give the victim the chance to escape, do it. It really doesn't take much to make a big difference in someones life.

Choosing to step in can change the way those around you think, even if you are simply trying to help a friend who has had too much alcohol or one who is offended by a sexually offensive joke. 

So, why don't people help more often?

Well, it’s not always easy to step in, even if you know it’s the right thing to do. Some common reasons bystanders remain on the sidelines include:

Image result“I don’t know what to do or what to say.”

“I don’t want to cause a scene.”

“It’s not my business.”

“I don’t want my friend to be mad at me.”

“I’m sure someone else will step in.”

It is alright for you to have these reasons for not stepping in, but it is also important to keep in mind that what you do to help can have a big impact. In most situations you could stop a serious crime, such as sexual assault.

Your actions matter 

Whether or not you were able to change the outcome of the situation, by stepping in you are helping to change the way people think about their roles in preventing sexual violence. If you suspect that someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are steps you can take to support that person.

Help someone you care about by introducing them to NICRO. At NICRO, they offer a variety of helpful programmes, such as the Perpetrator of Interpersonal Violence Programme and intensive therapy.