Promoting autonomy helps prevent sexual violence.

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Sexual violence is 100% preventable—and everyone has a role to play in that prevention.

Respecting and recognized other people’s autonomy – the way they make decisions about themselves and their body – is a protective factor against sexual violence. A protective factor is something that makes sexual violence less likely to happen.

Autonomy means that people can make their own decisions without outside pressure, and have those decisions respected by others. 

A lot of times when we talk about autonomy and sexual violence, we are talking about consent and respecting someone’s choices during sex. But there are also ways we can respect a person’s autonomy in our day-to-day lives — whether at work, at home, at school, or anywhere in-between!

At Work

Have you ever had a coworker immediately hover over your shoulder to look at your computer or phone screen? Before you look at someone’s screen, you can give them a little space. Ask if it’s okay to sit closer, take a look, or show them something.


At School

It’s fun to take pictures with friends – it’s a way to share memories with the people we care about! But people may not want certain pictures of themselves posted online — maybe they don’t like how they look in a photo, or maybe they are a private person, or for any reason at all!

Before posting a picture to social media, first ask your friends if they are okay with you sharing.


At Home

It’s normal to want to show our loved ones that we care. But it’s also okay to set boundaries for yourself — and important to respect the boundaries of others. Asking “Can I hug you?” or “Want a hug?” is a way to invite those you care about to set their own boundaries.