Primary prevention is all abut stopping a sexual assault before it occurs, whether that be when one is about to take place or combating the environment that makes degradation of victims acceptable. When most people think about these scenarios they immediately say that they will intervene, stepping in to stop a would-be rapist or telling someone that their anti-feminine joke is not funny and unacceptable. The truth is, however, that peer pressure continues throughout adulthood and it is sometimes harder than one might think. This is shown so clearly through clips of the show “What Would You Do” in which actors pretended to drug a fellow actor’s drink while she was in the bathroom to see if bystanders would intervene. What they discovered was that only one man said anything and his wife consistently told him to shut up and mind his own business. So what would you do?
The fact is that gestures don’t have to be grandious or world changing, they simply have to squash whatever unacceptable behavior is happening in the moment. Whether is be to ‘accidentally’ spill the spiked drink and then subtly get the potential victim out of the situation, or not laughing at the sexist joke. No one is saying that a person must tie on their superhero cape before attending a college party, or break out a slideshow to demonstrate how sexist jokes contribute to a society accustomed to looking at women as objects and possessions; we are simply asking you do to something. So the question remains, what would you do if this happened in front of you?