Ending Sexualized Violence
Ending sexualized violence means working towards a culture of consent and combatting rape culture. Rape culture is prevelant and exists in many ways, including blaming survivors for their assault, supporting those who perpetrate violence, normalizing abuse in relationships, treating sexualized violence as inevitable, viewing sexual aggression as good, downplaying the severity of its impacts, and refusing to challenge the systems that enable or excuse violence. Ultimately, rape culture refers to a culture where sexualized violence is normalized or excused, directly or indirectly.
Here on the UBC campus, we are striving to promote a culture of consent. Consent culture promotes respect, communication, and bodily autonomy. Consent culture understands gender and sexual diversity and does not base a person’s worth off of how much or how little sex someone has. In a consent culture, checking in and clarifying boundaries is the norm. Check out our available workshops for your student club or campus group to learn more about building a culture of consent.
Know your local anti-violence organizations and learn about the initiatives that they support. Consider volunteering for an organization that speaks against sexualized violence. Check out our Community Resources page to learn about resources in and around Vancouver.
Learn how to support survivors in your life. If someone you know has been impacted by sexualized violence, you can come to the SASC and talk to a support worker about how to be a supportive resource for survivors. There is not one way that a sexual assault survivor will want support, but here are some approaches that are more supportive than others:
How to Support a Survivor
- Be clear that you believe the survivor
- Take an empathetic approach and start by listening
- Be proactive about offering support. Make sure to ask them what they want and do not assume that they want something specific from you
- Do not ask the survivor to discuss details of the event
- Do not ask any questions that imply it could have been their fault. This may include asking where they were, how they met the person, what they were wearing or if they had consumed any alcohol or drugs
- Avoid asking why they did a certain thing or made a certain decision, as this may make them feel judged or blamed for their assault
- Do not pressure them to talk to the police. They may not want to talk to a support worker or counsellor and that is okay
- Recognize that there is no time-line to “get over this” and continue to be gentle and empathetic with them
Sexual violence is not an isolated event; it exists within a system of oppression. To do our part to end sexualized violence, we must also seek to end all forms of oppression. This includes but is not limited to ending gender oppression including violence towards trans and non-binary folx, racialized and colonial violence, police violence, and class oppression.