Sexual violence is seldom random. It is often possible to predict both likely perpetrators and potential victims. Preventive initiatives can therefore be undertaken.
Preventing sexual violence will necessitate a cultural shift in terms of gender role expectations, acceptable mechanisms for conflict resolution and the unacceptability of violence.
This will necessitate work with children to challenge gender stereotyping (e.g. masculine aggression and female passivity) and to promote non-violent conflict resolution skills. This could be reinforced by similar work with parents in relation to developing non-violent parenting and conflict resolution skills. This may need to be reinforced by sensitisation and advocacy work with existing community structures, leaders, and local agencies to promote the unacceptability of sexual violence and the adoption of appropriate social sanctions against its perpetrators.
Certain institutions may be strongly associated with "cultures of violence" and their members may be among the likely perpetrators of sexual violence. Specific targeting may therefore be necessary in order to reach military, police and security personnel or inmates and staff in custodial settings.
The relationship between the structural determinants of sexual violence and development need to be better understood. It is highly likely that the same activities which address gender inequality (including education for girls and women's access to resources including credit), poverty and sustainable livelihoods, and which promote civil society participation and good governance are also conducive to the prevention of sexual violence.
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