Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an opportunity to highlight this important issue and show survivors that they are not alone. Whether you post social media graphics, hang flyers, or show up for Wear Teal Day, this page is designed to share ways you can be an ally this April, and all year long.
This Month's Highlights
- A panel discussion about masculinity and the role that men play in ending sexual assault on college campuses (details coming soon).
- A webinar with a panel of experts to discuss the implications of the new Title IX regulations proposed by the federal Department of Education (details coming soon).
- The launch of OPDV's new Sexual Violence 101 trainings open to the public.
- A social media campaign about sexual assault and how to Start the Conversation about sexual assault.
Start the Conversation
This toolkit provides definitions, conversation starters, and resources to Start the Conversation with the people in your life. Talking more about sexual assault is an important first step to ending it.
Share Posters and Flyers
Share these posters and flyers in public spaces so victims and survivors know that help is available, and to encourage everyone to Start the Conversation about sexual assault.
Post on Social Media
Follow @NYSOPDV on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and engage with posts by sharing, liking, and commenting. You can also post the social media graphics below, and show the people who follow you that you're an ally to survivors. When posting, always include information for the NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline which can be reached 24/7: Call 800-942-6906, Text 844-997-2121 or chat at opdv.ny.gov. It's free, confidential, and available in most languages.
Be an Ally All Year Long
Many people who experience domestic or sexual violence don’t know who to turn to or have had bad experiences reaching out for help. Your willingness to help is important. Being ready to offer the kind of help that’s needed, while keeping yourself safe, is even better.
- Initiate a conversation in private and when you have enough time to talk at length, but only if they want to.
- Let go of any expectations you have that there is a “quick fix.” Not doing anything may very well be the safest thing they can do at any given time.
- Challenge false attitudes and beliefs that you may have about domestic or sexual violence.
- Believe victims and let them know that you do. If you know the person who has or is abusing them, it may be hard to believe that they are capable of abuse, but remember that abusers typically act differently in public than they do in private.
- Listen to what they tell you. Avoid making judgments and giving advice. They will let you know what they need.
- Refer them to a service provider who can discuss their options and share resources.
- Build on their strengths. Point out the ways in which they developed coping skills, solved problems, and showed courage and determination.
- Validate feelings. It is common for victims to have conflicting feelings – love and fear, guilt and anger, hope and sadness. Let them know that these feelings are normal.
- Avoid victim-blaming. Tell the victim that the abuse is not their fault.
- Take it seriously. If you are concerned about their safety, tell them you are concerned without judgment by simply saying, “Your situation sounds dangerous and I’m concerned about your safety.”
- Offer help. Offer specific forms of help and information, such as providing child care, driving them to appointments or assisting with pets.
- Give them control. Abuse and assault take control away from victims. Support their decisions about who to tell, what steps to take, and what types of support they need. Additionally, asking before offering any physical support such as hugs and being upfront about what support you can and cannot provide allows them to take control of their safety and next steps.
- Support and respect their decisions. Remember that there are risks with every decision a victim makes and there is no one way an individual must react to abuse or assault. If you really want to be helpful, be patient and respect their decisions, even if you don’t agree with them.