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Yes+no=no #7

Yes+yes=yes. The equation for consensual sexual contact is that simple. Yes+no, Yes+noidea and Yes+I’lljusthavetoagree all equal a resounding “no”. Unfortunately, this is not crystal clear to everyone. Unwanted sexual behaviour is still common. Are we doing something about it? Yes+yes.

Yes+no=no for vulnerable young people

Sexual boundaries aren’t marked by fences. To prevent rape, abuse and intimidation as much as possible, it’s important that people guard their own personal boundaries and respect those of others. This turns out to be hard, particularly for young women with a lower level of education, disabled young women and young men in social care. On average, they are more likely to become victims or perpetrators.

In our programmes Girls’ Talk and Make a Move, vulnerable young women and men learn to settle for nothing less than a safe and voluntary relationship. We expand our product range with Girls’ Talk+, a teaching resource that has been tailored to young women with learning disabilities. In the European project Keep Me Safe, we share our expertise in this topic with other EU member states.

#Didyouknow the Girls’ Talk+ training makes it easier for girls with learning disabilities to stand up for themselves? #Rutgers

Two young people (credits: Kees Hummel)

Those who violate personal boundaries should not reoffend. In the programme Respect Limits we train young sexual offenders in order to mend distorted ideas about relationships and sexual behaviour. We advocate abolishing the lifelong registration of this group in the Dutch judicial documentation system. It hampers them in building a new future, which in turn increases the likelihood of reoffending.

In sex work too, yes+no=no

They run the greatest risk of sexual violence, but receive the least support in preventing it: sex workers. Policies and public opinion turn against prostitution rather than the aggression prostitutes experience. As a result, they get less rather than more protection. We are greatly concerned about this. Changing the dominant mentality towards sex work is a matter of life and death.

“Globally, sex workers have a 45 to 75 per cent chance of experiencing a form of violence at work. These figures are disturbingly high. This is no longer acceptable. Sex workers too have a right to safety.’’

Ine Vanwesenbeeck (manager international research at Rutgers)

Yes+no=no in the family

We fight sexual aggression all over the world. In South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia and Rwanda we organise activities to prevent gender-based violence, violence caused by inequality between men and women. We use campaigns and group meetings to increase the involvement of (future) fathers in their children’s upbringing, as well as the awareness that communication leads to more happiness than aggression.

South African family (credits: Mosaic)

“I’ve changed my view on spanking. I used to use a rod. Now I know it only makes things worse. It’s better to talk to each other.’’

Thozamile (participant MenCare+ in South Africa)

Going forward

In the new programme Prevention+ we continue our mission to involve men in the prevention of gender-based violence.

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