Youth based programs focus on preventing young people from participating in
socially undesirable behavior. Consent education through healthy relationship education can be a way to reduce sexual violence and produce a cultural change in how we address victims’ needs. Implementing such education would require a national policy change.
Simply changing the policy, however, would not directly lead to a desired aspect of cultural change all on its own as evidenced by other policy change failures to encourage sexual violence victims to report their victimization. People do not report the violence committed against themselves out of a fear that they will not be believed. Thus, a new policy must be implemented through the consideration of timeliness by policy makers. This timeliness includes looking at how prevention programs do and do not work as well as exploring studies conducted about young people’s sexual activity. The key is to implement a policy effecting intimate relationships before people start engaging in them.
There are systemic problems within our current formulation of policies working to combat sexual violence. Mainly, there is a failure to value victims’ voices when a policy needs improvements. Moreover, we depend too much on college and universities to work as prevention trainers, victim advocates, and punishers when not everyone attends these institutions and sexual violence is prevalent before people reach the age at which they would enter these institutions anyway.
The national government has a vested interest in protecting public health through initiatives aimed at promoting personal autonomy through civil liberties.
Carrigan, Melissa, "Where Are Victims' Voices?: Rethinking Sexual Violence Policy" (2015). Honors College. 249.