LiveSmart: Community Awareness, Intervention Important in Preventing Sexual Assault

[This piece was written by Michael Fonda, prevention educator with the Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Assistance Program.]

Every two minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. The issue of sexual violence and how to stop it can feel overwhelming, but there are proven approaches shown to be effective at preventing these crimes from happening.

We believe it takes a community to stop sexual assault. Two great examples of primary, community-driven prevention are Mentors in Violence Prevention and the Enough Abuse Campaign.

Mentors in Violence Prevention was developed by Jackson Katz and Northeastern University more than twenty years ago. The program’s strength lies in its interactive approach, where participants are asked to not only identify and challenge situations that can lead to violence, but also critically evaluate their own beliefs around all forms of gender violence including:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Domestic violence
  • Abusive or demeaning language
  • Sexual assault

The Enough Abuse Campaign was developed by MassKids and complements established community prevention and education efforts to prevent child sexual abuse. Through a series of workshops, it educates and engages parents, professionals, caregivers, and other concerned community members about their role in recognizing and preventing child sexual abuse.

Of course, is not always possible for an entire community to go through trainings such as these. ; Crime Victims Assistance Program, Communicating and reinforcing a message of zero tolerance for sexual assault and violence to the entire community, and empowering bystanders to act, becomes even more critical. To that end, the Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Assistance Program (SACVAP) developed the “Take a Stand, Troy” campaign.

Centered around seven posters featuring well-known members of the Troy community, in combination with training for employees of local businesses, the “Take a Stand, Troy” initiative focuses on the power of bystanders to create a culture in which interpersonal violence is not tolerated.

The posters challenge community members to “Take a Stand,” and announce that interpersonal violence is not welcome in our community. Situations described on the posters include:

  • “When a girl is out dressed like that, she deserves … to get home safely”
  • “I saw them put something in her drink, so I took my chance … to buy her a new one”
  • “After a few dates, she owed me … nothing”

SACVAP invites local business to join the “Take a Stand, Troy” initiative. The free trainings, provided by SACVAP, provide employees with knowledge and tools necessary to identify and respond to situations where the well-being of a patron may be in question.

All of these education programs and support materials are available at no cost to the community. For more information or to schedule a training with one of our prevention educators, contact us at 518-271-3410.

More information can be found on the SACVAP Facebook page:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email