Imagine a week without violence. Imagine people walking the streets at night without fear. Imagine sexual and domestic violence as faded memories of a long gone era.
This is the
vision of the global movement of the YWCA. This is what the YWCA Week Without Violence works to achieve.
The YWCA Week Without Violence is an annual
worldwide campaign that takes place in the third week of October to encourage
communities to think and act towards a world without violence. Throughout the
week activities focus on raising awareness, promoting attitude change, and
enabling individuals and organizations to begin positive actions toward ending
violence in their communities.
In recognition of Week Without Violence the New Britain YWCA Sexual Assault Crisis Service (YWCA SACS) would like
to highlight its newest program, Where Do
You Stand? Connecticut. The YWCA SACS is part of the Connecticut Campaign to engage men to stand up against
sexual violence. Where Do You Stand? Connecticut campaign was created by Men
Can Stop Rape, a national organization redefining masculinity and male strength
as part of preventing men’s violence against women. Men Can Stop Rape trained
Connecticut advocates to utilize bystander intervention theory and techniques
to equip men with the tools necessary to take a stand against all forms of
So why Focus On Men? Where Do You Stand? Connecticut campaign empowers men to use their voice, influence, and actions to become a part of the solution. Statistically speaking, most men in our society believe it is wrong to rape a woman. However, majority of these men also live and participate in a culture which supports, glorifies, and justifies violence against women and girls. This bystander intervention program engages men in addressing the cultural norms which support sexual violence. It will help to give men the necessary tools and confidence to help hold other men accountable for their active participation in this culture, resulting in efforts to prevent sexual violence.
What Is Bystander Intervention? Bystander intervention aims at empowering each of us to be active in responding to and preventing sexual violence. Bystander intervention quite simply means having a willingness to take action when it’s needed. Ending sexual violence and all forms of oppression, will take a lot of collective work. We all need to be willing to take action to challenge cultures that support and allow sexual violence to occur. Bystander intervention techniques can involve a wide range of interventions from being direct to creating a distraction. Bystander interventions provide men with useful tools to stop a range of negative behaviors and to create spaces where everyone is safe and respected.
Can We Really Prevent Sexual Violence? Yes, sexual violence is preventable. Sexual violence affects entire communities; therefore, solutions also need to engage entire communities. Violence prevention aims at stopping violence before it occurs and requires an understanding of the factors that influence violence. It is important to take into consideration the complex relationship that individuals have with the world around them and how that influences their behaviors. Sexual violence can be prevented by using comprehensive, multifaceted strategies that empower both individuals and communities to address attitudes, cultures and actions that contribute to rape culture.
For more information on Where Do You Stand? Connecticut, free printable materials, resources, pledges and how to become involved please go to http://ywcanewbritain.org/sacs-where-do-you-stand/.
The YWCA Sexual Assault Crisis Service’s mission is to eliminate sexual violence in our community through crisis intervention, prevention education, and public policy advocacy. Advocates and volunteers answer hotline calls, work with law enforcement, accompany survivors at local emergency rooms, and speak to community groups to ensure that victims’ voices are heard.
If you or someone you know is a victim/survivor of sexual assault please call the statewide 24-hour toll-free confidential hotline number: 888-999-5545 (English) or 888-568-8332 (Español).