Who is a SAPAC Ally?
An ally is an individual who consciously strives towards promoting justice and ending marginalization. Becoming a SAPAC ally means that you recognize that sexual and intimate partner violence is an issue in our culture and at the University of Michigan, and you will not tolerate it. It means that you will be a proactive bystander and actively work to reduce rape culture and victim blaming; encourage healthy relationships; continue to educate yourself and others in your community; and remain committed to supporting survivors.
Stages of Allyhood
Becoming an ally in the movement to end sexual and intimate partner violence comes in stages. There are four basic stages:
- Knowledge/Education: You start to educate yourself about sexual and intimate partner violence, and begin to understand the impact that it has on the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels.
- Awareness: You understand how your experiences, values, and perspectives related to sexual and intimate partner violence are influenced by your own social identities and the social identities of others.
- Skills: You learn how to apply your knowledge and awareness to everyday situations in order to effectively build respectful, inclusive communities and safely challenge harmful, disrespectful behaviors and systems. You can acquire these skills by attending workshops or training, role-playing with friends, and developing relationships and connections with places that are supportive to survivors.
- Action: Action is a powerful way to produce change in society. Action can be taken on many different levels and in many different ways such as intervening in situations that are harmful, supporting survivors, and reinforcing positive behavior when you see it.
Levels of Allyhood
Taking action in the movement to end sexual and intimate partner violence can take place on many different levels and in many different ways:
- Individual: addressing attitudes and beliefs of individual people.
- Relationship: addressing factors based on relationships with peers, intimate partners, and family members.
- Community: addressing factors based on community and social environments, including relationships with schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods.
- Societal: addressing larger, macro-level factors such as gender inequality, religious or cultural belief systems, societal norms, and economic or social policies.
What You Can Do As a SAPAC Ally
Being a SAPAC Ally is about taking the knowledge and skills that you have and working towards ending sexual and intimate partner violence and promoting healthy relationships. This can be done in multiple ways and on multiple levels. Here are some examples of ways you can be a SAPAC Ally:
- Get consent every time you engage in a sexual activity.
- Have a conversation with a younger person who looks up to you about how important it is to help end violence.
- Send a mass email related to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and/or sexual harassment to your contact list with a simple message like, “This issue is important to me and I believe in the goal of reducing violence.”
- Donate money to an organization that works to end sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and/or sexual harassment.
- Visit websites such as SAPAC (www.sapac.umich.edu), the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (www.mcedsv.org), and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (www.nsrvc.org) to educate yourself further.
- Hang posters in your house, apartment, or office that relate to these issues and/or supply SAPAC brochures in your office.
- Put the SAPAC link on any website that you have access to.
- If you are concerned that a friend of yours might be a survivor of violence, gently ask if you can help and respect their answer.
- Have a conversation with at least two different people in your life about sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and sexual harassment and why these issues are important to you.
- Ask at least one friend or family member in your life to visit the SAPAC website.
- Consider attending SAPAC’s Volunteer Training program and becoming a volunteer if you are a University of Michigan student.
- Request a SAPAC presentation for whatever group or office you are a part of.
- Challenge a friend or family member who makes a sexist comment.
- Engage in conversations about a TV show or movie that promotes transphobia, transmisogyny, homophobia, racism, sexism or violence.
- Choosing to support a TV show or movie that promotes respect and validates marginalized identities.
- Validate and encourage others when they act in a way that is healthy and respectful.
- Attend our Ally Training held once every Fall and Winter semester during the academic year.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Meade