WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT... GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN THE U.S.?
Gender-based violence affects men, women, and children solely based on their sex or gender - and primarily affects women. It manifests in intimate partner violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment, reproductive coercion, dating violence, and stalking.
This issue is often seen as a very personal one, so someone who isn’t directly affected might feel like there’s little that they can do. But that’s not true at all -- in fact, your input can have tremendous positive effects on individuals and the greater issue.
Answer the call
There are sexual assault crisis centers and hotlines all across the U.S. that provide resources, comfort, and safety for victims of sexual violence. Victims come here during incredibly challenging times, and that's when they're in the most need of support and guidance.
Want to be on the other end of the phone when someone reaches out for support? Check out RAINN's search tool to find opportunities near you. You can connect with locations or call centers where you can receive training to be a qualified voice for victims in need.
Go for a ride-along
If you've ever been told that you're a comforting presence for others, you might be the right person to help a victim during a crisis.
Many police departments bring in volunteers to provide crisis-related services after an emergency. This person can act as a comforting friend and an advocate to help them navigate next steps with emergency personnel.
Contact your local department or hospital (at their non-emergency number) to see if you can provide ride along or other crisis-related services.
Pay the professionals
You can always look to the experienced professionals who are on the front lines - providing safe housing, legal support, policy analysis, and advocacy.
Help keep them running and improving:
Go ahead, upgrade to that new phone
If you've been debating getting a new phone upgrade but just need a good reason, we've got one for ya: you can donate your old phone to a domestic violence survivor to help them start a new life in safety.
Not ready to give it up yet? Shelters are in need of lots of goods: blankets, underwear, bathroom kits, and more. Use this handy tool to find a shelter wish-list in your area, or brush up on how to start a search on your own.
Bring your people together
Plan a small get-together at your school, your job, or with a group of friends. Gender-based violence could be anywhere, so it's important to add another resource to your tool belt. Share statistics and basic facts, talk about how it's relevant to your group, and brainstorm ideas of how people can make even a small difference - including simple tips for bystander intervention.
You can even plan around a relevant date:
- January is Stalking Awareness Month
- February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
- March 8th is International Women’s Day
- April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
TIP: keep track of your donations
You shelled out some of your own hard-earned cash to help others - because you're awesome like that.
Don’t close the books when the money’s been spent. Keep track of your donations, so that you can write them off come tax season. You’ll get a deduction for charitable efforts, and everyone wins.
Check out these tips from Forbes. Don't save it for April - get on it now so no dollar goes un-checked.
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