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14 Ways You Can Help Destroy Rape Culture

Helping eliminate sexism isn’t a job for low-key heroes; get ready to destroy rape culture with Ophelia and Jules of MTV’s new series Sweet/Vicious, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/9p.m. CT on MTV.

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1. Be aware of insidious microaggressions.

Calling someone a “pussy” as a substitute for “wimp,” saying that she must be PMSing because she’s cranky — these things that seem small only reinforce the pillars of sexism that fuck men and women up, so try to think before you speak.

2. Support your local girl gang.

Not literally gangs — but independent female artists, female-owned small businesses or publications — $upporting women doing their thing encourages other women to follow suit and blaze their own trail.

3. Peacefully intervene if you witness harassment.

It can be as simple as walking up to a girl who is vulnerable in or clearly uncomfortable with an encounter and acting like you’re old friends just seeing each other out of nowhere. Diffusing the situation, making her feel less alone, and taking her away from the situation to ask if she’s okay is easy and extremely helpful.

4. Real Talk with your dude friends.

Misogyny isn’t gonna go away unless we let our boys know that the patriarchy — no offense — screws them over too. Talk about emotions, about feelings, about mental health stuff, and don’t you dare give them crap for opening up; it’s unbelievably healthy to do so.

5. Get involved with a mentorship program.

Just imagine how dope it would have been if you had a strong, woke adult guiding you through the confusing and challenging times of being a teenager. Hanging out with a kid who is ready to see you as a role model is a big responsibility, but one that leaves a lasting mark and can help one more young person make their future a better place for everyone.

6. Respectfully share your views to bigoted folks.

Whether it’s on your FB feed or at the Thanksgiving dinner table, you’re bound to hear some views that are bigoted. Rather than shut it out or deleting them altogether, have a respectful conversation about it and try to share the stuff that you’ve learned that has helped you gain the views that you have.

7. Donate what you can to a charity or nonprofit organization that helps women.

A little per month can certainly can go a long way. Research places that offer things like breast cancer screenings and affordable women’s health care, that support victims of domestic violence, or simply donate clothing or personal care items to women’s shelters.

8. Monitor what you say around kids.

Children really are like sticky, loud little sponges; they soak up all of the things they hear and apply them to their own budding idea of the world and society. Keeping the grown-up critiques and gossip to yourself around them truly makes a lasting positive impression.

9. Believe those who claim they were harassed or assaulted.

So many women do not speak up about rape or sexual harassment right away (or at all) because of the fear that they will go through the trauma of recounting it only to be disbelieved or accused of lying. Be an advocate for those who are strong enough to come forward; it’s overwhelmingly likely that they ARE telling the truth anyway.

10. And don’t victim-blame.

Try to apply victim blaming logic to every crime and see how well it fits: “Well, she shouldn’t have gotten wasted if she really didn’t want to be raped.” “Well, he shouldn’t have parked his car in a parking lot if he didn’t want to get his window smashed and his radio stolen.” Like??????

11. Know the difference between “locker room talk” and “predator talk.”

Where guy and girl talk becomes dangerous is not when hormones are abuzz, but when the discussion involves groping, overpowering, manipulating, or coercing someone. A simple “Not cool, bruh” is a good gut check for people to know that what they think is “how people REALLY talk” is fucking maniacal.

12. Remember that what other women choose to wear is none of your business tbh.

Her body, her idea of modesty, her style has nothing to do with you, bb, so why not just be happy for her and let her live her life?

13. And seriously, stop slut-shaming.

Judging a woman for implied or announced sexual proclivities is the result of misogynistic brainwashing, plain and simple. Let women have the sexual agency and autonomy over their bodies that you would like to have and have a right to.

14. Give yourself credit for what you are doing.

Sometimes we all have knee-jerk thoughts or judgements that make us feel like assholes who are part of the problem — but just remember: Your snap thought is what you are conditioned to think, and the thought you have right after that reflects your true character. And that’s rad.

Illustrations by Chesney Lattuga © BuzzFeed

Check out more patriarchy-smashing with Sweet/Vicious, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT on MTV.

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