Start Conversations (mentors)
Sexual violence means many things, like rape, unwanted touch, stalking, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, incest, child sexual abuse, and more.
Talking about it isn’t just for health teachers, counselors, and peer educators. It’s for anyone that believes in healthy relationships, wants to support others, and recognizes abuse is never ok.
And since you’re the kind of person that others go to for advice, listen to, and respect, then you’re an ideal candidate.
No need to be formal. Even a few minutes giving solid advice is great.
Ideas to start a conversation:
- Keep it low key. Don’t push if they aren’t ready to talk.
- Use day-to-day language, not medical terms.
- When they come to you first, start by listening.
- Keep the conversation going by asking open-ended questions.
- When talking about real scenarios:
- Focus on behaviors, not specific people.
- Challenge them to notice red flags.
- Ask them what next steps they want to take.
- Be ready to share resources.
- Use what’s going on in current events and in media as a way to start a conversation or to illustrate a point.
- Bring up a topic related to sexual violence:
- Ask them to share what they know about it.
- Share scenarios and examples that include a wide variety of people, relationships, and identities.
- Discuss practical ways to prevent sexual violence.
- Validate what they know and have shared.
Some content adapted from Love is Respect, Break the Cycle, A Call to Men, Healthy Teen Network, National Sexual Violence Resource Center.