Sexual Violence Prevention is Everyone's Responsibility

  • Published
  • By Simone Hudson
  • 509th Bomb Wing Violence Prevention Integrator

Anyone who has ever has to sit through annual sexual assault prevention training has likely heard that violence is preventable.

That may be hard for some to believe, given that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over half of women and nearly one in three men have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime.

Each of us plays a role in bringing an end to sexual violence and helping each of our wingmen live up to their full potential in a safe and healthy environment.

Sexual violence is not just a woman’s issue, but a societal issue. As Airmen, we should be promoting social norms surrounding sexual violence prevention.

So, how do we get after it?

We must first believe that everyone is worthy of dignity and respect. This starts with us and spreads to others via our relationships, friendships, community, and to society. We can create a ripple effect that shows how we should be treated and what we will accept from others.

We must then learn and teach the skills to prevent sexual violence. When we hone our emotional intelligence and learn healthy relationship skills, we empower ourselves and others. This allows our voice to be heard and instill a sense of community responsibility and a duty to protect our wingman.

One key to violence prevention is creating protective environments, because what we allow will continue. We should be applying the things we learn in training to our workplace, our social circles, and our home lives. When we create those protective environments, we create a world where people feel safe and victims feel supported.

“Bystander intervention” is more than just a buzzword used in Air Force training. It is taught in schools and colleges across the United States. I believe intervening when we see something wrong is just being an honorable member of society. The earlier we learn and apply the bystander approach, the more successful we will be at preventing violence.

Every day, we as a community and society can prevent sexual violence through education and intervention. We can move closer to eradicating sexual assault by treating others with dignity and respect, speaking up, and speaking out.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, February 5). Prevention strategies|sexual violence|violence prevention|injury Center|CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from