Primary prevention efforts address the root causes of sexual violence (victim-blaming, objectification of women, belief in rape myths, gender stereotyping, sexism, and environments that support violence). In line with public health, this approach shifts the responsibility of prevention to society and off of victims.
Public health classifies prevention into three levels:
- Primary prevention approaches aim to stop sexual violence before it occurs; preventing initial victimization and perpetration.
- Secondary prevention approaches are immediate responses to sexual violence to deal with short-term consequences.
- Tertiary prevention approaches are long-term responses to sexual violence to deal with lasting consequences.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) outlines five of the common norms that shape our attitudes, values, and behavior and contribute to the environment of sexual violence. Addressing these norms can maximize efforts to prevent sexual violence BEFORE it occurs:
- Gender: limited roles for and objectification and oppression of women
- Power: value placed on claiming and maintaining power (manifested as power over)
- Violence: tolerance of aggression and attribution of blame to victims
- Masculinity: traditional constructs of manhood, including domination, control and risk-taking;
- Privacy: notions of individual and family privacy that foster secrecy and silence.
For more information on primary prevention, visit:
Sexual Violence Prevention: Beginning the Dialogue