Social Media Movements for Youth to Prevent and Call Out Sexual Violence

With the help of Twitter and various other social media platforms, the #MeToo movement continues to shape and grow the global conversation around sexual violence [1]. While incredibly important and a much-needed shift in the way people think about what acceptable behavior looks like, the movement tends to focus on adult experiences. We forget that teens also experience sexual harassment and other types of sexual violence [3; 4]. In fact, research from our national Growing up with Media study and other similar studies, suggests that sexually violent behaviors often first appear in adolescence. Teens need to be included in this #MeToo movement as well.

Here’s a quick look at some campaigns, movements, and organizations focused on youth and committed to using social media awareness as sexual violence prevention:

Stop Sexual Assault in Schools: #MeTooK12 Campaign

Created by the national nonprofit, Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, the #MeTooK12 program encourages survivors of sexual harassment and assault from kindergarten (K) through twelfth grade (12) to share their experiences. This campaign is particularly important as it highlights the fact that sexual violence affects even the youngest of us [6].

Futures Without Violence: Respect Effect

Futures Without Violence has developed an app called Respect Effect under the umbrella of their ‘That’s Not Cool’ campaign. The app helps young people practice healthy relationship skills by completing daily challenges with their significant other, friend, or family [8]. Users can share completed challenges on the Community Feed, earn points to get placed on the Leaderboard, and view other challenges. There’s also a website featuring a social hub, statistics on violence and unhealthy relationships, along with ‘Call out cards’ to identify what isn’t appropriate to say either online or face-to-face.

Break the Cycle: Let’s Be Real

Break the Cycle supports and inspires young people to build healthy relationships and create a culture without abuse. As part of this campaign, they created ‘Let’s be Real,’ a national movement that focuses on amplifying the voices of young people through real and honest conversations using social media, blogging, and events.[9] Members host a weekly relationship show on snapchat called ‘Taco Bout it Tuesday’ where teens can ask each other relationship questions. Members also develop playlists focused on healthy relationship themes.

While each of these campaigns has different approaches, each serves as a call: What are each of us going to do today to make youths’ voices heard in the movement against sexualized violence?



[1] me too. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[2] World Health Organization. (2010). Preventing intimate partner and sexual violence against women: taking action and generating evidence. Injury Prevention, 16(5), 1–102.

[3] Lu, W. (2018). What #MeToo Means to Teenagers.

[4] Prevention and Education Committee of the Task Force. (2014). A Best Practice: Using Social Media for Sexual Violence Prevention.

[5] Ybarra, M. L., & Thompson, R. E. (2017). Predicting the Emergence of Sexual Violence in Adolescence. Prevention Science, 19(4), 403–415.

[6] Warkov, E. (2017). Combating rampant K-12 sexual harassment and assault. Retrieved from

[7] York, S. of N. (n.d.). Teen Dating Abuse is #NotJustPhysical. Retrieved from

[8] Futures without Violence. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[9] Break the Cycle. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[10] A CALL TO MEN. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[11] Heilman, B., Barker, G., & Harrison, A. (2017). 1 The Man Box: Key Findings.

[12] NO MORE. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[13] Noonan, R. K., & Charles, D. (2009). Developing Teen Dating Violence Prevention Strategies. Violence Against Women, 15(9), 1087–1105.