Show What’s Right
Mentors: How can you show in your actions that you support healthy relationships and you believe abuse is never ok?
Here’s some ideas.
- Be a good listener.
- Be supportive and non-accusatory.
- Be open to talking.
- Avoid making assumptions about:
- Identities, bodies, or behaviors
- How someone wants to handle a situation
- Be careful not to judge someone’s choices or show disapproval.
- Recognize and reject stereotypes you may have about individuals, cultures, and issues.
- Allow others to make their own decisions about the situation (step in when required by law).
- Be a resource. Give others tools and show them where to go for more information.
- Admit when you don’t know something.
- Educate yourself on rape culture. Seek out current, evidence-based resources.
- Encourage open discussion and critical thinking about sexual violence.
- Clearly state you don’t tolerate any kind of sexual violence and that it’s an issue you take very seriously.
- Quickly respond to violence of any type, including bullying, sexual harassment, and dating violence.
- Try to use gender neutral language (e.g. “they” instead of “her” or “him”; “folks” instead of “guys”).
- Be respectful to others around you (like your co-workers).
- Address offensive language when it comes up by explaining why it’s hurtful.
- Promote gender equality among all members of the community.
- When listening, note your body language. Face the person and make eye contact. Give them your full attention.
- Let teens know it’s ok to say no, even in everyday situations. For example: “Jason, it’s ok to say ‘no’, but could you go to the copier and grab some copies for me?”.
- Don’t make or laugh at sexist jokes.
- Don’t perpetuate negative stereotypes (e.g. “You throw like a girl!”).
- Embrace emotions. Let all genders know it’s ok to cry. Validate their feelings.
- Show it’s ok to embrace friendships from other genders. Share examples of this from your own life.
- Call out victim blaming when you see it.
Some content adapted from Love is Respect, Break the Cycle, A Call to Men, Healthy Teen Network, National Sexual Violence Resource Center.