Sexual assault (SA) remains a large public health problem in the United States. According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. There are many factors that affect SA and many risk factors associated with being a perpetrator of SA. One of the factors that may affect SA indirectly is advertising. The saturation of advertising images that portray confusing messages about sex and reinforce rigid and harmful gender roles collectively normalizes sexual assault. While there are many prevention messages that promote risk reduction strategies for victims to avoid SA, ultimately the most effective prevention strategies would address the issues underlying these problems and promote positive advertising that does not reinforce confusing messages and harmful gender roles.
These strategies would likely be most effective because they work to change the fundamental views and attitudes of society that lead to sexual assault. Additionally, it works to change the attitudes and behaviors of perpetrators at a young age. This strategy ultimately works to prevent sexual assault from occurring to begin with and change risky attitudes and behaviors, rather than control the problem after it has happened.
Source: Reporting Rape. Retrieved March 6, 2010 from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network Website: http://www.rainn.org/print/247.