How can students help foster safer schools?
If you are a student in high school or college then this resource is for you. It’s never too early (or too late!) to start your journey on the road to prevention!
Because prevention is multifaceted, there are many ways by which we can contribute to fostering safer and supportive school environments.
model positive behaviors
Our actions can create a ripple effect of positivity within our peer circles. Taking a stand against victim-blaming comments and oppressive language can help foster a safer space in our social circles. We understand that this isn’t easy – standing up to our friends takes a lot of courage! NJCASA’s blog addresses some strategies for tackling victim-blaming in the comments section, but can also be applied to our day-to-day conversations. We also like this packet about engaging bystanders and this guide for young activists, both from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC).
“BRAKE” FOR HARMFUL BEHAVIOR
Oppressive beliefs and gender norms uphold the power imbalances that allow sexual violence to thrive. While many TV shows, songs, and other forms of media get it right when discussing sexual violence, some media also reflects harmful norms. Identifying the intended (or unintended!) messages behind media is a step towards better understanding how media plays a role in shaping how we see the world around us. Practice media literacy on your own and have conversations with your social circle! A simple question like, “Hey, did you hear the lyrics in that song?” can open up the opportunity to have meaningful conversations and begin to shift social norms.
JOIN OR FORM AN ORGANIZATION
Some schools and campuses may have an existing extracurricular organization that addresses rape culture and other intersectional issue. Sharing space with like-minded people can help strengthen your connections and your ability to speak out against rape culture. Don’t have an organization? Think about creating one! Organizations in schools or on campuses can work with a supportive faculty member to host important events about sexual violence prevention. We like this event planning guide from the NSVRC.
use social media
In order to change the culture, we have to work within the culture and social media is a huge part of ours! Just as we can model positive behavior in person, we can do the same on our social media. Whether it’s contributing to a hashtag or posting about social norms, each post can contribute to influencing your social circles and creating safer spaces.