When we talk about sexual assault, we’re not discussing the full picture unless we talk about the effects of technology. Sexual assault is not new, it was here long before the Internet. However, the Internet has amplified those negative messages, and provided an echo chamber for those who feel justified in their violence against others.
Fortunately, those like the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault are having conversations on this subject. Digital Respons-Ability was privileged to speak at the first-ever Silicon Safety Summit on January 16, 2018. We discussed ways to educate and parent through developmental stages to teach consent, self-regulation, empathy and other interpersonal skills to decrease the likelihood of assaulting others, or being a victim.
When examining sexual assault, it’s important to ask WHY. Why do people not understand consent? Why do some individuals become radicalized through forums online? Why do people seek out certain types of pornography online?
While we certainly don’t have all the answers, we try to ask why to get to the heart of those behaviors and build protective factors like confidence and connectedness.
We’re glad to see these conversations, and the #metoo movement spurring openness and dialogue. By communicating with openness rather than shame, we can all work together to get to the heart, the WHY of the issue.
See a video interview from our founder at the Silicon Safety Summit.