At the start of every new year, it’s tradition to come up with a set of resolutions to help us improve ourselves from the years prior. This helps us reflect on where we made mistakes in the past, and how we can apply what we’ve learned as lessons for the future. This year, Project Consent has created a list of resolutions too, which can help us all look back on 2017 and guide us into a better year.
- Find Your People
Who we are as individuals is defined by the people we associate ourselves with. Therefore, do what you can in the new year to revamp your squad and surround yourself with those who share similar values. We are surrounded by people who subscribe to the rape culture we’re working to destroy; slut shaming, catcalling, and small words and actions that otherwise trivialize or belittle sexual assault only perpetuate that toxic cycle. Fill your inner circle with dialogue that breaks the cycle. Find those who want to combat slut shaming, objectification and the normalization of sexual assault. Establish a group of friends who accurately portray what you believe in.
- Be Yourself
Give yourself permission to be yourself. Wear what you want, and don’t let fear of being slut shamed keep you from that. In the new year, know that there shouldn’t be any consequences for being authentic to yourself. You will end up being much happier as yourself rather than hiding who you are.
- Find a Role Model
Look up to those who inspire you. This can be an older sister, or someone you may never meet, as long as it’s someone who sets an example for the type of person you’d like to be. There are so many role models to choose from, with leaders like Sara Li, the creator of Project Consent, to the TIME People of the Year, the “Silence Breakers.” Role models teach us to overcome our obstacles through their own stories of triumph, and help us become better versions of ourselves by example.
- Be Kinder To Yourself
We’ve all been through a hard time in 2017. No matter the experience you’ve had, be gentle with yourself and give yourself the space to recover. Put aside time for self care, and remind yourself how strong you are. Try meditation, journaling, and long baths, and remember to take the time to love yourself.
- Be Proactive
Whether it feels like it or not, our votes and our voices count. We witnessed this with the Senate special election in Alabama of this past month, and in the 2017 Women’s March in January. In the United States, citizens have the ability to contact our representatives and protest what is against our beliefs. In the new year, continue to be proactive with your voice and votes.
- Show Compassion
While it is always important to show compassion to others, 2017 showed us that being compassionate to victims of harassment and assault is especially necessary. If you know someone who is a victim, do not tell them what they should or shouldn’t do - simply show compassion and support. Victims recover through relearning and redeveloping relationships of trust with others. Do what you can to become the person victims can trust and rely on.
- Stand Up
If you have ever witnessed slut shaming, victim blaming, or any form of bullying, do what you can to stand up and speak out against it. Those of us who are silent in the face of adversity only become part of the problem. One of the best ways to demonstrate support and compassion for victims is to shut down those who shame and blame them.
We live in a country where legal action requires us to look at all perpetrators as innocent until proven guilty. While this outlook has defined the American judicial system, it has made believing victims challenging unless their perpetrator is proven guilty - and we’ve seen time and time again that the legal outcome of a criminal case doesn’t always line up with the truth. In 2018, rather than waiting for legal action to dictate truth or not, let victims know you don’t need a court ruling to prove your support of them.
- Get Involved
If you want to do more to fight for a cause you believe in, find movements and organizations to get involved with. Whether it is submitting an application to join the team at PC, or starting your own club at school, see if you can take your voice one step further this year.