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Challenging the Normalization of Violence
Written by Alejandra Aguilar, Program Specialist at the Partnership


Gender pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Wow! What a month! There has been so much energy across our country focused on raising awareness to the prevalence of gender-based violence. Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen the issues of sexual harassment and sexual violence plastered all over our screens and social media platforms. The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have done so much to bring attention to this critical topic. A topic that so many of us discuss on a daily basis. And yet, we wonder… is talking about it enough? – It’s not. We have so much more work to do.

As many people have experienced, and as many of us have seen throughout our spaces at work and in our friendships and family, the reality of why a large number of individuals choose to not disclose intimate partner violence or sexual assault: fear of being re-traumatized, ridiculed, having their experiences minimized, being blamed and humiliated… The list goes on. We know the reasons. We talk about them every day.  And yet, we cannot stop talking! Now more than ever as more folks are looking for opportunities to engage!

AND in addition to raising awareness, supporting each other, and creating spaces for survivors to share their stories with people who believe them, we must also continue speaking up about HOW we can engage others in the prevention of violence. We know we cannot do this alone.

  • How do we hold ourselves accountable?
  • How can we share ideas with others about ways in which they can stand up against violence?
  • How do we challenge the norms that perpetuate the violence?  

This is going to take all of us.

So where do we start? – Did you get a chance to assess your own privilege using the Oppression and Privilege Self-Assessment Tool that was shared in last month’s article Intersectionality of Privilege, Oppression, and Tactics of Abuse? By assessing our privilege, we can become self-aware of the spaces in which we hold privilege and use it to stand up, speak out, to do something.

  • As a parent or teacher, do you have access to spaces in which you can engage youth and adults in discussions around respect, equality, consent and what they look like?
  • Do you have spaces around you where you can add media and images that encourage healthy relationship behaviors and bystander intervention skills?
  • Have you emailed or called your elected official, encouraging them to promote laws that foster equality and liberation for marginalized groups?
  • Using language and examples that support survivors and challenge these norms: “She didn’t deserve it. No one does.” “The person who chose to rape caused the rape. Nothing else.” “Only a Yes is a Yes. Anything else is a No.”

How will YOU hold yourself accountable?

How can you INVITE OTHERS to engage in challenging the normalization of violence?

We invite you to read and share the Piktochart that was created by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Violence. It’s a great way to start the conversation with others. Let us know how it goes. We’d love to hear back from you.