Prevention means changing the conditions and norms that allow violence to occur. Voices Against Violence (VAV) utilizes an approach called primary prevention, which involves cultivating a campus culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves -- one that promotes and values:
To create this culture, the root causes of violence need to be addressed.
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, individuals receive messages from their families, friends, community leaders and broader society. These messages create “norms,” or the understanding that some behaviors are encouraged and other behaviors are unacceptable. The prohibition of some unacceptable behaviors, 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 existing norms or creating new ones.
VAV utilizes the socio-ecological model, which explains how individuals’ actions interact with the broader culture and community. For more information, read the CDC’s “The Social-Ecological Model: A Framework for Prevention.”
There are risk factors for perpetrating violence at every level of the socio-ecological model. See the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for examples of these behaviors.
Everyone can contribute to preventing interpersonal violence by practicing consent and treating their friends, dates and partners with respect. Violence prevention does not have to be complicated, but it does require a willingness to learn and hold oneself and others accountable.
You can help prevent interpersonal violence by
PreventConnect - A national online project dedicated to the primary prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Violence prevention information and resources, including prevalence data, definitions and prevention strategies
American College Health Association (ACHA) Shifting the Paradigm - Toolkit for the primary prevention of sexual violence among college communities
Together we can build a safer campus