Parents for Prevention
working together to end sexual violence
a project of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Here, you'll find information ranging from supporting more flexible gender norms, to building empathy, to stopping bullying before it starts. Interested in why we chose these categories? Click here. Can’t find the answers to the questions you’re looking for, or know of an additional resource that we should add to this page? Contact us. Need to find resources to help a victim of sexual violence? Click here.
If we want to shift our culture to a place where sexual violence is unthinkable, we need to have conversations not only in our homes, but in our communities as well. If you have a fire to change things now, or if you see some sparks of activism in your children that you would like to nurture, you are in good company. Click here for resources and support to make a difference in your own backyard.
Bullying, especially bullying based on factors like gender, race, sexual orientation or gender expression, or ability, is associated with higher rates of sexual violence. In fact, some behaviors that are labeled “bullying” by schools and communities actually meet the legal definitions for sexual assault. Whether this behavior is happening in person or online, it requires a serious response from caring adults. Click here for more.
Teaching our kids that everyone has the right to say what happens to their own body is one of the most important lessons we can teach. Modeling both that we will ask their permission before touching and that we will respect their answer is a great first step. Click here for more information about how to raise kids who understand how to give and receive consent.
Empathy and concern for how one’s actions affect others is a major protective factor against sexual violence. The more we understand on every level that our actions affect others, and internalize that we should always take care to do no harm, the less likely we are to commit sexual harm, or to ignore when we see others causing harm. For information about how to build and support the development of empathy in your children, click here.
Research tells us that societal norms that support male superiority and sexual entitlement and that maintain women’s inferiority and sexual submissiveness, as well as weak laws and policies related to sexual violence and gender equity, all contribute to high rates of sexual violence. We also know that other kinds of oppression, such as racism, ableism, and homophobia, also raise the risk of sexual violence. For information about talking to your kids about the importance of equality for everyone, click here.
Hostility towards women, adherence to traditional gender role norms, and hyper-masculinity are all risk factors for committing sexual violence. If we want to raise a generation free from sexual violence, we have to start by expanding our ideas around gender, and showing our children that there is no such thing as “boy stuff” and “girl stuff”. If you’re looking for help, support, or ideas about how to change these norms in your home or community, click here.
Children who grow up with a positive attitude and understanding of sex, sexuality, and their bodies are both less likely to commit sexual harm and more likely to tell someone if they have been harmed. Because many of us did not grow up with accurate information about sexual health, or with open lines of communication about sex and sexuality with our parents, sometimes we have to educate ourselves before we’re ready to have these conversations. Click here for information and support about raising sexually healthy kids.
Emotional health and connectedness are crucial to preventing sexual violence. Relationships with supportive adults, especially the adults who live in the household and with particular emphasis on relationships with supportive adult males, act as an important protective factor. For information about how to support healthy relationships between your children and the adults in their lives, click here.
Parental use of reasoning to resolve family conflict is a protective factor for sexual violence perpetration. Basically, this means that the more that children see their parents using calm, reasoned approaches to dealing with a disagreement or trouble within the family, rather than making arbitrary decisions or judgments that they don’t understand, the less likely they are to commit sexual harm. For more information on how to implement this in your home, click here.
Whether you’re sending your kids off to a new daycare, a summer camp, or their first year of college, do you know what questions to ask to make sure that the school or organization is doing everything they can to prevent sexual abuse? Organizations that serve youth have a responsibility to keep them safe, and there are several important policies that should be in place. Click here for information about questions to ask and sample policies.
As parents, we hope that no harm ever comes to our children. But despite our best efforts, it is impossible to keep them from witnessing or experiencing traumatic events. Resiliency is the quality that helps us all to recover from bad things, and there is a lot we know about how to increase that ability to “bounce back”. Click here for information on supporting and increasing resiliency in your children.
Talking about changing culture, whether in your home, your school, or your community, can sometimes be exhausting. Some days, progress feels like one step forward and two steps back. Developing healthy coping skills in yourself and your children will help you all find the strength to push back against harmful words and actions, even when it’s really difficult. For ideas of practical self-care strategies for your whole family, click here.
Trafficking has been a very visible topic in the media lately, and it can be hard to separate the myths from the realities. If you are interested in finding accurate information about who is as risk for trafficking, what is being done to prevent it, and how you can help, click here.
Can't find what you're looking for or have something to add? Contact us!