#MeToo – What can you do?

This week we’ve all  been watching the #metoo campaign unfold. It’s been a full on couple of weeks with news of Harvey  Weinstein’s abuse hitting the media and many brave survivours standing up and telling their stories.

In response to these stories, many people have felt driven to take action, and so I’ve put together a list of some ideas of what you can do to contribute to ending the culture in which the abuse happens.   –  Fiona

1. Educate yourself

If you’re not quite sure what all this is about, then look it up. There’s a huge amount online if you google key words like ‘rape culture’ and ‘victim blaming.’ A s a starting point, here’s a chat I had with Jessie Mulligan about #metoo specifically.

Here’s a short article about consent.

Here’s a quick article about rape culture.

2. Keep informed

We’re sending out our first ever newsletter today, you can sign up here.Check out other organisations doing great work, including Wellington Rape Crisis, Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation, WellStop, TOAH-NNEST, InsideOut, Rainbow Youth, Women’s Refuge and Rape Prevention Education.

3. Be kind to yourself.

It’s very normal to feel overwhelmed or upset by the huge number of #metoo, as well as the emerging #ihave and itsme, posts. It’s OK to log out of social media. It’s OK to ask people to take a break from talking about it. It’s OK to ask for help. You can find a support service in your area here or call 0800 88 33 00.

4. Call people up on bad behaviour.

If your mate is pursuing someone who is clearly too intoxicated to make rational decisions: pull them aside and let them know this is not OK. Be brave and have those hard conversations.

5. Call out jokes about rape or sexual abuse.

Explain that this trivializes and normalises unacceptable behaviour. It can also isolate survivors, making it harder for them ever to disclose their abuse.

6. Call out behaviour that undermines women.

It might be a comment, it might be that women are talked over in a meeting, it might be that women are not invited to the meeting at all. Call out the comment. Make space for everyone to be heard, this might mean saying less and listening more yourself. Include women. Promote women’s voices.

7. Call out stereotypes and gender roles.

Stereotypes that cast women as passive and men as powerful are dangerous. They lead to a culture of entitlement and abuse.

8. Call out transphobic and queerphobic comments and behaviours.

Discrimination against diverse genders and sexualities de-legitimises people’s identities and makes them targets of abuse and violence.

9. Don’t stand for marginalising anyone in our community.

Say something about racism, ableism and ageism.

10. Support survivors.

Check if they are at risk of further harm. Ask them how you can support them. Tell them and show them that you’ve heard them, that you believe them and that it wasn’t their fault.

11. Pro-actively suport women.

Promote women and encourage them to take leadership roles, share content written by women, insist you have female speakers on your panels. Listen to women.

12. Actively support people with diverse gender and sexuality identities.

Promote. Encourage. Share. Listen. Support.

13. Consider what you can do in your workplace or community.

Do you have a leadership role at your work or voluntary organisation? What policies and processes does your organisation have to prevent bad behaviour in the first place or to respond when something does happen? What can you do to ensure that these are place?

14. Upskill and start conversations in your workplace or community.

SAPN offers a range of workshops that develop skills, such as intervening to prevent sexual abuse and responding to disclosures of sexaul abuse. We can tailor them to suit your organsiation. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss some options.

15. Donate to a local support service.

You can find one relevant to you here. If you’re in Wellington and want to donate to a service that supports survivors you can chose from Wellington Rape Crisis or Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation.

If you want to give your donation to a service that is working to educate and change the culture in which sexual violence happens, you can donate to us:

16. Think about what you can offer.

For us, the best kind of voluntary contribution is when someone is able to use their skills to support our work. We’ve been lucky to be supported by pro bono legal services, volunteer graphic design, administration and bookkeeping advice. Sometimes people run fundraisers for us in their own communities, meaning that they are able to access the support of and raise awareness about sexual violence among people outside of our own networks.