Considering that every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S., and that rape is still the least reported crime in America, it’s essential that we remain vigilant about preventing and educating about sexual violence. In a nod to April’s designation as Sexual Assault Awareness Month or SAAM, some well-respected organizations and institutions are using the power of social media tospread the word about this vitally important issue.
But they shouldn’t be the only ones. Isn’t it time we all joined forces with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) in their bid to raise awareness about sex violence? Keep reading for a few tips on how a company, organization, educational institution or any other entity can utilize social media to spread the word about Sexual Assault Awareness Month today and always.
Spread the Word
Kudos should go to the U.S. Navy for addressing sexual assault and aggression head on. This branch of the military recently began a campaign in honor of SAAM that encourages discussions on healthy sexuality and provides tools for sailors regarding education, prevention and open communication. And guess what? They also turned to the web to publicize their efforts and motivate the general public to join in on the conversation with a Twitter campaign.
Put Facebook to Work
Remember when Facebook was simply a place to catch up with friends or share cool photos? Well, times have certainly changed as organizations, non-profits and institutions of every size have capitalized on the massive reach of this social media giant. Now it’s your turn to get your message out there regarding SAAM 2012.
Here are a few ways to do it:
1. Keep it timely. Who wants to read about yesterday’s news? Link out to blog posts, newspaper articles and upcoming events that are up-to-the-minute and SAAM related.
2. Keep it relevant. Know your audience and only feed them content they’ll care about.
3. Keep it engaging. Don’t simply talk at people, hold a conversation. Ask a question, publish a poll and encourage likes, shares and comments.
Take it Local
Given that agencies and bodies all over the U.S. will be honoring SAAM in their own way, it’s important to make your message stick where it matters most: home. Once again social marketing offers an opportunity to reach out to your community to engage them in meaningful dialogue. What about writing an educational blog post with a link to the NSVRC’s video on creating healthy sex attitudes?. Then take that powerful statement to the next level by inviting members of your own community to enter a video contest. Let them tell their own story of how they’ve crafted healthy sex attitudes and allow other readers to pick the best entry. By inviting neighbors, friends, loved ones and other locals to share their story online and off, you’ll increase awareness and encourage everyone to join the conversation simultaneously.
Now it’s your turn to begin your own SAAM 2012 social media campaign!
This article was written by Cary Betagole of SEER Interactive. Cary has been working on promoting SAAM in his own time as well as some other sexual assault awareness resources – one being a sexual harassment training quiz and a guide for common forms of workplace sexual harassment.
The above video of a subway fight was making the rounds of the internet last week. The video begins in the middle of the fight as a woman pushes a man, the man kicks her, and she kicks him back. While camera phone captured fight videos are not uncommon on many corners of the web, this video gained popularity not for the brutality of the fight, but for the interesting way it was broken up. A stoic man eating chips steps into the middle of the scrum, and his facial expression never changes as the shouting dies down and the fight ends. He just keeps eating his chips.
It’s hard to tell exactly what was going on before the chip-ervention, but it seems to be between a man and a woman who accuses the man of following her. No matter how the fight started, it’s apparent that the fight needed to stop to prevent harm to any of the people in the subway car. Chip Man (as he will be referred to in the rest of this post) took our Where Do You Stand? campaign literally and intervened in the situation simply by standing in the middle of the fight. Chip Man’s intervention uses a few of the bystander intervention strategies we teach in our workshops and trainings: he separated the people involved, he provided a distraction, and he made it known that fighting was unacceptable simply by making himself apparent in the fight.
Chip Man’s intervention is an example of a counterstory of masculinity, a story which is in opposition to the dominant story of masculinity. When talking about being an active bystander, most people might imagine a person taking over a situation and preventing harm through her/his sheer force of will. Chip Man shows that sometimes the most effective intervention strategies are the most passive. He didn’t make a grandiose speech about the wrongness of violence, he didn’t judge either party, he just recognized that the most important action was to stop the fight and get them both away from each other. Granted, this strategy might be too dangerous in other situations (I certainly wouldn’t advise standing in the middle and calmly eating chips as a way to break up most fights), but that’s why we refer to intervention strategies as being part of a bystander intervention toolbox. You don’t need a hammer for every job, you don’t need a screwdriver for every fix, but you have those tools available to you in case you need them.
Chip Man as an active bystander is probably not the first thing a lot of people thought of when they saw this video. It would have been easy to watch it, laugh at Chip Man’s indifferent enjoyment of his salty snack as the subway descended into chaos, and move on to the next picture of a cat with its face outlined by bread. There are counterstories all around us, though, men and women who are actively making a difference in their community and working to create cultures free from violence (whether they realize it or not). Take a lesson from Chip Man: chill out, grab a snack of your choosing, and take a stand against violence in our communities.
Jared Watkins is a Development Coordinator at Men Can Stop Rape and a facilitator for George Washington University Men of Strength Club. He has interned and worked at Men Can Stop Rape since 2008 when he founded Georgetown University Men of Strength. He can be reached at email@example.com.
I don’t know if rape jokes encourage rape culture. I don’t care. You still shouldn’t tell them.
Statistically, if you have told a rape joke to a group of more than five people, one of the people you told it to was a rape survivor, possibly of multiple rapes. They will not necessarily disclose this to you; rape apologism is endemic in society and most rape survivors are cautious about whom they tell. Some may even be too ashamed of their rape to admit it to anyone, or because of rape-minimizing narratives like “men can’t be raped” and “I consented to oral, so I couldn’t have been raped” may not admit it even to themselves. The fact remains: if you’ve told dozens of rape jokes in your life, then you have almost certainly told a joke that minimizes or trivializes rape in front of a survivor.
And if you put as your Facebook status “I totally raped at Halo today” for your two hundred Facebook friends to see, statistically, you have just reminded thirty-three people of one of the worst experiences of their entire lives.
To describe how well you did at a video game.
Good job!” —An Addendum, On Rape Jokes. (via goddesshyperion)