Culture where sexual violence / abuse is normalized or minimized.

  • This can be seen not only by how people interact with one another, but through movies, TV shows, social media, music videos, etc.
  • Attitudes and beliefs that excuse these inappropriate behaviors.

Promotes rape myths.

  • Rape myths are stereotypes and/or false beliefs about rape, rape victims, and rapists.

Rape culture is rooted in sexism.

  • It thrives in a society that views women as less important than men.
  • Women are also objectified and sexualized at young ages.


Culture where consent is normalized / popularized in relationships and society.

  • Consent is about respecting people’s personal, emotional, and physical boundaries.
  • Promotes individual autonomy of their body, sex, health, sexuality, and gender.

Promotes consent education.

  • Teaching consent and boundaries throughout childhood and at all ages.

Believes and supports victims.

  • Policies and laws in place that take sexual violence seriously.

Elevates marginalized communities.

  • Marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by interpersonal violence.

Rape Myths and Facts

Rape myths are stereotypes and/or false beliefs about rape, victims, and rapists.

Victims lie about being sexually assaulted.

The rate of false reports for sexual assault are in line with the rate of false reports for other crimes. Only 2-10% of cases of sexual assault are false reports.

Rape only happens to “certain” types of people.

Any person can be assaulted. Victims can be any age, gender/sexual identity, ethnicity, race, ability, etc. In fact, marginalized communities are more at risk.

Rape is always violent and perpetrators are strangers.

80% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows; Rape can involve violence or threat of violence but does not have to.

People who do not fight back have not really been raped.

There are many reasons someone may not fight. In fact, 75% of victims freeze during sexual assault. This is a common fight-or-flight response to sexual violence.

Most rapes or assaults are reported to the police.

Rape and sexual assault are some of the most underreported crimes; only 6% of rapists will spend time in jail.

Victims provoke sexual assaults when they dress provocatively or act in a "promiscuous" manner.

The only person at fault for a sexual assault is the perpetrator. It is never the victim’s fault. This is victim blaming which is a part of rape culture.

How to be a Positive Bystander

Bystander  A person present but not involved; chance spectator; onlooker.

Positive Bystander  Someone who recognizes an event as potentially
dangerous and intervenes.

Examples of being a positive bystander:

  • Making sure a friend makes it home safely after going out drinking.
  • Explaining that rape jokes aren't funny.
  • Intervene if you see someone in trouble or are concerned about their safety.

Action Steps:

  • Be direct.  Call it as you see it.
  • Distract by diverting attention.
  • Delegate.  Get the help of others to intervene.

Consent Guide

Consent as FRIES: Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, and Specific.

Always Ask for Consent. When someone gives consent, they’re giving permission for something to happen or agreeing to do something.

Understand why you’re asking. Asking for consent is a part of sex — but it’s about more than getting a yes or no answer. It’s about opening up a conversation with your partner about what you both want.

When you ask. Ask without expectations of how your partner will respond When you ask, make it clear from your words, tone, and body language that you’re OK with the answer, no matter what it is. Pay attention to body language and verbal cues.

Responding to their answer. If they say yes If your partner enthusiastically agrees and appears excited, you can move forward. Continue to check in. If they say no If someone says no, accept their answer. Never try to convince or guilt someone to say yes.

Keep the conversation going. Consent is an ongoing conversation. Consent is a normal and necessary part of sex.

How to Handle a Disclosure

Be an excellent listener.

Tell them that you believe them.

Contain your own feelings.

Acknowledge their trust in disclosing to you.

Offer them the appropriate local or national supportive resources.

Be familiar with your organization’s policies regarding disclosure of abuse.

Do’s and Don’ts:

Do tell the person that you believe them.

Do offer privacy to disclose.

Do tell the person that they were right to tell you and that it was brave.

Do tell the person that they are not the only one and that sexual violence happens to others.

Do tell them they are not responsible for what happened and it’s not their fault.

Do make necessary referrals such as DSS and RCC.

Do consult your RCC staff members who are available 24/7.

Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.

Don’t panic or show that you are shocked; remain calm for the victim’s sake.

Don’t give the impression that you might believe the victim is somehow at fault.

Don’t ask intrusive questions.


The above information is sourced from a variety of online resources and articles including National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Planned Parenthood, Oregon Sexual Assault Resource Center, Novia Scotia Resource, Rape Crisis of England and Wales, University of Richmond, Brown University, and more.