The University of Texas at Austin - What Starts Here Changes The World
The University of Texas at Austin Division of Student Affairs

voices against violence


Prevention means changing the conditions and norms that allow violence to occur. For VAV, primary prevention involves cultivating a campus culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves and that values

  • respect,
  • healthy boundaries,
  • consent,
  • and the worth of all people.

To create this culture, we need to address the root causes of violence.

The Cultural Context for Interpersonal Violence

All violence involves the behavior and choices of the individual perpetrating the violence. However, preventing interpersonal violence also requires examining what has influenced that person to cause harm. From a young age, we receive messages from our families, friends, community leaders, and broader society. These messages create “norms,” or the understanding that some behaviors are encouraged and other behaviors are unacceptable. Some unacceptable behavior, such as the violation of someone else's consent, is enforced by federal, state and local law as well as UT Austin policy.

Individuals are influenced by these norms when deciding how to treat their friends, romantic or sexual partners, and peers. In turn, these individual decisions impact the entire community by reinforcing or creating new norms.

Looking at the socio-ecological model below, you can see how individuals’ decisions and actions interact with the broader culture and community. For more, read the CDC’s “The Social-Ecological Model: A Framework for Prevention.”

you are embedded in a context

What are root causes of interpersonal violence?

There are risk factors for perpetrating violence at every level of the socio-ecological. See the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for examples of these behaviors.

How can I help prevent interpersonal violence?

Everyone can contribute to preventing interpersonal violence by practicing consent and treating their friends, dates, and partners with respect. Violence prevention doesn't have to be complicated, but it does require that we are willing to learn and are willing to hold ourselves and our friends accountable.

  • Learn more about consent, healthy relationships, and respecting and communicating boundaries.
  • Practice consent in your everyday life and ensure the people in your life feel safe to be themselves.
  • Hold yourself and others accountable for comments, jokes, and actions that contribute to violence or harm.
  • BeVocal - Intervene if you hear or observe someone causing harm. Examples of harm include telling a rape joke, making someone feel uncomfortable sexually, or using power and control against a date or partner.
  • Spread the word - Even the simple act of tweeting or retweeting about interpersonal violence can make a huge impact.
  • Get Involved with VAV

Additional Reading on Prevention

PreventConnect - A national online project dedicated to the primary prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence

Preventing Sexual Violence - Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
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Together we can build a safer campus

UT Counseling and Mental Health Center

UT Counseling and Mental Health Center Voices Against Violence
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The University of Texas at Austin - What Starts Here Changes The World