Ketnet wrapper Gloria Monserez (20) testified in a campaign film for Sensoa about a situation in which a boy behaved across borders. “The conversation started very pleasantly, but suddenly he touched me in an undesirable place,” it sounds. Fortunately, Gloria’s best friends were nearby and intervened right away. An act that Sensoa, the Flemish expertise center for sexual health, applauds. With “#WijGrijpenIn” they try to motivate young people and young adults to act when they observe transgressive behavior and also help them to do so in an effective way.
The new campaign comes just before the fourth anniversary of the first #MeToo tweet that rang the bell on sexually inappropriate behavior at the time. In a sense, it is the sequel to the “Is it ok!?” campaign, which rather dealt with what exactly can or cannot be regarded as cross-border. “#WijGrijpenIn” should encourage people not to stand on the sidelines when they witness. The campaign runs through radio spots and social media and Sensoa will provide training for professionals who in turn can provide training to young people and young adults.
According to Sensoa, focus group discussions show that although 90 percent of 16 to 26-year-olds find it important to intervene in sexually transgressive behaviour, 40 percent also do not know how to do this. Shared responsibility among bystanders, social pressure, and the sense of being in danger are some of the stumbling blocks cited. The expertise center therefore distilled the most effective methods for this purpose from international scientific literature. Those “5 A’s”, as Sensoa calls them, are involving others, distracting, segregating, addressing and staying present.
“Sexually transgressive behavior can never be approved,” adds Flemish Minister of Welfare Wouter Beke (CD&V). “When you witness this, it is important that you know how best to intervene. Not obvious, but necessary.”
Sensoa also states that bystanders can both stop behavior or avoid escalation if victims offer support and ensure social change.