Imagine a week without violence. Imagine people walking the streets at night without fear. Imagine sexual and domestic violence as faded memories of a long gone era.
This is the vision of the global movement of the YWCA. This is what the YWCA Week Without Violence works to achieve.
The YWCA Week Without Violence is an annual worldwide campaign that takes place in the third week of October to encourage communities to think and act towards a world without violence. Throughout the week activities focus on raising awareness, promoting attitude change, and enabling individuals and organizations to begin positive actions toward ending violence in their communities.
In recognition of Week Without Violence the New Britain YWCA Sexual Assault Crisis Service would like to highlight its newest program, Where Do You Stand? Connecticut. The YWCA SACS is part of the Connecticut Campaign to engage men to stand up against sexual violence. Where Do You Stand? Connecticut campaign was created by Men Can Stop Rape, a national organization redefining masculinity and male strength as part of preventing men’s violence against women. Men Can Stop Rape trained Connecticut advocates to utilize bystander intervention theory and techniques to equip men with the tools necessary to take a stand against all forms of sexual violence.
So why Focus On Men? Where Do You Stand? Connecticut campaign empowers men to use their voice, influence, and actions to become a part of the solution.
Statistically speaking, most men in our society believe it is wrong to rape a woman. However, the majority of these men also live and participate in a culture which supports, glorifies, and justifies violence against women and girls. This bystander intervention program engages men in addressing the cultural norms which support sexual violence. It will help to give men the necessary tools and confidence to help hold other men accountable for their active participation in this culture, resulting in efforts to prevent sexual violence.
What Is Bystander Intervention? Bystander intervention aims at empowering each of us to be active in responding to and preventing sexual violence. Bystander intervention quite simply means having a willingness to take action when it’s needed. Ending sexual violence and all forms of oppression, will take a lot of collective work. We all need to be willing to take action to challenge cultures that support and allow sexual violence to occur. Bystander intervention techniques can involve a wide range of interventions from being direct to creating a distraction. Bystander interventions provide men with useful tools to stop a range of negative behaviors and to create spaces where everyone is safe and respected.
Submitted by the YWCA New Britain and the Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Hartford. For more information contact the YWCA at www.ywcanewbritain.org or call the Hartford Sexual Assault Crisis Service Center at (860) 241-9217.