Liz Zadnik on Highlights from the 2016 Rape Prevention & Education Leadership Training

Greetings friends!  Liz Zadnik here with a rundown from this year’s Rape Prevention and Education Leadership Training in Washington DC.  Each year, preventionists from state sexual assault coalitions and departments of health come together to celebrate prevention efforts, network with one another, and challenge each other to innovate.  It’s an inspiring space – I’m always in awe of the brilliance and dedication of my colleagues from across the country.

Lesson Learned: Language matters!  The words and phrases we use, as well as the partners we engage all shape how we set goals and plan program implementation.  In one of the workshops I sat in on, we had a great conversation about how language can either elevate or diminish a person’s humanity and wholeness.  Preventionists in the anti-sexual violence movement work to reduce the likelihood of perpetration; however, once someone chooses to perpetrate we follow a completely different path for intervention. Is this working?  Is this serving the greater goal of addressing community trauma and enhancing safety?  How are we measuring this work or capturing the impact on communities?  

Rad Resource: Berkeley Media Studies Group has done some incredible work, as part of a multi-year project, on sexual violence prevention messaging.  They’ve conducted research on media coverage and are working on testing messages that could strengthen prevention efforts.  Popular and effective phrases and ways of communicating will enhance outcomes and support programming already underway.  

Lesson Learned: Community-level change is a multifaceted concept that seems to change the more you think about it.  I was honored to share my thoughts and experiences on community readiness, as well as lead a roundtable discussion.  Our group talked a lot about how to hone in on community-level outcomes specific to our intervention or efforts.  As we move into the outer layers of some socio-ecological model, things become a little more nuanced and interconnected.    

Rad Resource: I participated in a great roundtable discussion focused on learning lessons from international efforts to address child abuse.  Although the United States’ public health infrastructure is more robust than others, we still have room to learn!  INSPIRE, a resource synthesizing insights from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF, offers a number of strategies and possible outcomes to create safer communities for the world’s children.  

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