A few months ago, the U.S. government launched the "It's On Us" campaign to urge the public to adapt the "see something, say something" approach for preventing sexual assault. With two out of three rapes done by someone the victim knows personally, the "It's On Us," campaign is a necessary reminder that we do have the power to stop sexual assaults and step in.
Students in Nairobi, Kenya are learning that same lesson as part of their "Your Moment Of Truth" program run by charity Ujamaa Africa, which empowers boys to stand up for women and both genders to intervene against sexual assault. And, apparently, it works.
Reuters reports that when a young primary school student saw a man try to remove a little girl's diaper, he quickly called others over to help. The group, who had been part of the "Moment of Truth" program, confronted the man and stopped him from hurting her.
The Guardian reports that as many as 8 out of 10 Kenyan women experience a form of violence in their lifetime, but Ujamaa Africa hopes their structured programs will empower boys to help change that and to learn to stand with women early on.
"Our main focus on the curriculum is positive masculinity for the boys, positive empowerment, and actually making them gentlemen on issues to do with the prevention of rape and standing up for the rights of women," Ujamaa Africa teacher Collins Omondi told Reuters.
According to the article, rape in areas with the "Your Moment of Truth" decreased by 20 percent as the number of interventions increased.
That's no accident.
A study by the U.S. Department of Justice found that rape prevention education not only decreases the chances a man will assault a woman, but also encourages them to intervene when necessary.
"They were less likely to endorse date rape myths on the posttest; and they indicated greater willingness to help others who may be in situations needing intervention to prevent sexual violence," the researchers said.
Though the Kenyan boys saved just one girl, in one instance, they stand as proof that anti-rape education can be translated into action. And ultimately, be the first of many boys, soon men, who will stand with women from the get-go.