Training supports campaign’s goal to promote awareness and prevention
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign to increase public awareness of preventing sexual harassment, assault and abuse and creating safer communities. Every April, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center provides a variety of tools and resources for organizations and campuses to use in activities in the US and around the world.
This year’s theme, I Ask, highlights the importance of asking for consent to ensure safe, consensual experiences that help create a culture of respect. Organizers are encouraging people to wear a teal ribbon to further promote sexual violence prevention and bring attention to the importance of obtaining consent and supporting survivors.
For organizations and educational institutions, #SAAM presents an opportunity to roll out awareness and prevention initiatives and refresh and reinforce anti-harassment policies, procedures and training programs. #SAAM also provides leaders an opportunity to send a strong message that everyone – at all levels – is responsible for preventing sexual misconduct and creating a culture that is safe, respectful and harassment-free.
Sexual harassment training is one of the essential tools for keeping awareness and prevention top of mind in April and throughout the year. As part of a holistic approach to preventing harassment, training can be a catalyst for sparking conversations about behavior and culture, and driving positive change. Here are three examples:
Sexual harassment training – changing behaviors and attitudes
The #MeToo movement has amplified the need for organizations to consider new ways to improve anti-harassment training programs. Rather than train on the law, effective training should focus on raising awareness of behaviors that can lead to unwanted and unlawful conduct. Effective training engages learners as active participants, with the emphasis on “show” not “tell.” By providing individuals with a deeper understanding of the impact of harassing behavior, along with steps they can take to effectively recognize, respond to and prevent misconduct, training can be an empowering tool to motivate individuals to choose positive behaviors and act ethically.
Bystander intervention training – creating a sense of “we’re in this together”
Bystander intervention training, which began as a tactic to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, is now considered one of the most effective ways to disrupt sexual harassment and help prevent future incidents. Learners gain an understanding of why bystander intervention is important and how to overcome their reluctance to get involved. By demonstrating how to appropriately speak up, disrupt, intervene directly or enlist the help of others, training can remove the uncertainty of not knowing when or how to take action. As part of a comprehensive approach to preventing sexual harassment and assault, bystander intervention training is a valuable tool for empowering active bystanders and creating a feeling among targets, witnesses and allies that “we’re in this together.”
Title IX training – preventing, addressing and reporting sexual misconduct
Title IX is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to take steps to prevent sex discrimination, which includes sexual harassment and sexual violence, and respond appropriately when it occurs. Title IX training is one such step, by helping colleges comply with Title IX requirements and faculty, staff and students understand their rights and responsibilities to address, report and prevent sexual misconduct. As with other training topics, effective Title IX training focuses on raising awareness of behaviors that constitute sexual misconduct and promoting compliance and positive change.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness of sexual harassment and assault and educate communities on how to prevent it. Behavior-based training is one of the most effective ways to move individuals and organizations from awareness to action in preventing sexual harassment and creating a culture of respect, civility and inclusion. For more information and resources about Sexual Assault Awareness Month, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center at www.nsvrc.org.