How can sport make sexual violence prevention a reality?

By: Julie Patrick, RALIANCE, Alan Heisterkamp & Michael Fleming, University of Northern Iowa Center for Violence Prevention

When it comes to preventing sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse, RALIANCE and the Center for Violence Prevention are on the same page: building strong community partnerships is essential to ending sexual violence in one generation.

That’s what Drs. Alan Heisterkamp and Michael Fleming at the University of Northern Iowa will present as part of RALIANCE’s track at the 2018 National Sexual Assault Conference in Anaheim, CA. Prevention has to start during a person’s formative years and be repeated frequently, in various community settings they inhabit.

Their presentation will highlight one goal within Iowa’s broader state strategic plan to expand the conversation around preventing sexual violence: using youth sports experiences to teach healthy behaviors to thousands of young people throughout Iowa.

“Our initial goal was to reach out and partner with enough secondary school coaches across the state who could, in turn, reach 5,000 male, high school athletes with a program designed to instill personal responsibility, promote respectful behavior, and prevent sexual violence and relationship abuse,” the presenters said. “With the help of our state’s high school athletic association, we surpassed our goal is less than one year!”

With the help of a RALIANCE Impact Grant, their project called upon leadership among men and boys, utilizing male role models in the field of sports as a vehicle for positive change.

The effort looks at effective policies and practices, strong collaboration between and among local and state networks who serve youth and families, leadership to change practices when needed, and access to ongoing professional development and training on evidence-based practices.

And what will Drs. Heisterkamp and Fleming do next?

“Moving forward, we’ll focus on developing effective lines of communication, technical support and leadership opportunities for the coaches who are taking up the challenge to use their platform to transform the lives of young men through sports.”

Learn more about this presentation and the ways prevention is happening in communities across the country in our searchable online RALIANCE Impact Grant portal. If you’re interested in how sport can be part of the solution to sexual violence, visit our Sport+Prevention Center to learn more.

Ending sexual violence in one generation #BoldMoves #NSAC2018

RALIANCE has a bold vision to end sexual violence in one generation. That’s why we’re sponsoring a series of workshops at the 2018 National Sexual Assault Conference in Anaheim, California.

We know prevention is possible — and it’s happening. With the #MeToo movement continuing to be a vocal presence in our daily lives, everyone is talking about the problem. We all feel the impact of sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse. Now it’s time to believe in the concrete solutions that are working in communities across the country, from campuses to corporate boardrooms to sports fields and beyond.

So what does prevention look like? Intervening and stopping harm from happening in the first place may seem as aspirational as ending sexual violence in one generation. But we have many examples of troublesome societal practices that once seemed ingrained and inevitable but were ultimately ended through the passion and tenacity of activists and advocates. Once upon a time, people smoked on airplanes, in restaurants, and in glamourous movies. Seat belts, car seats for children, and bike helmets were also considered optional at best. But the people most impacted, and allies in communities came together to slowly but surely drive change. They did it using the same time-tested methods that define RALIANCE’s work to end sexual violence: grassroots efforts, work to change policies, research to show evidence of harm, engaging the media to a tell more accurate story.

RALIANCE is proud to have supported 52 projects in the last three years alone, representing $2.3M of funding to advance real prevention solutions. Learn more about the ways prevention looks in communities via our searchable online RALIANCE Impact Grant portal.

Every day, RALIANCE makes prevention possible by advancing research, influencing policy, supporting innovative programs and helping leaders establish safe workplaces and strong communities. Join us and be part of the solution, too. #BoldMoves #NSAC2018

What does prevention look like?

Co-writers: Nadiah Mohajir, HEART Women & Girls; Julie Patrick , RALIANCE

This week, RALIANCE is excited to join many of our grantees at this year’s 2018 National Sexual Assault Conference (NSAC) in Anaheim, CA. From sharing prevention strategies to lessons learned, we are encouraged by the progress these organizations have made in the fight to end sexual violence in one generation.

Since we were founded in 2015, RALIANCE has supported 52 projects to advance prevention solutions. One of these grantees is HEART Women & Girls, a Chicago-based non-profit organization that used a RALIANCE Impact Grant to implement a series of sexual violence prevention trainings for Muslim students and student leaders on college campuses across the nation to develop victim-centric approaches, policies, and best practices.

Below is blog conversation between RALIANCE and Nadiah Mohajir, HEART Co-founder and Executive Director, who shared why prevention matters and what it can look like.

Where did you take this project?

Our project implemented a series of trainings targeting Muslim students and student leaders on in California, Illinois, and Washington, DC to come together to understand sexual violence, learn how to support victims, and develop victim-centric approaches, policies, and best practices that address and prevent sexual violence in student organizations. As such, by the end of the project we trained 25 student leaders at three day-long trainings and then conducted two-hour 101 workshops on six campuses, reaching an additional 134 students. Our student leaders were engaged through the course of the year, continuing their education through webinars and co-designing ongoing programs and campaigns for their campus communities.

The trainings had three components: 1) training student leaders as survivor advocates, 2) raising awareness on sexual assault, and 3) research and evaluation. Through our curriculum, participants explored experiences with stigmas around sex, sexual violence, and rape culture in Muslim communities, and the importance of centering identities and lived experience when building victim-centric spaces. Finally, students learned how to support survivors in Muslim communities, the numerous avenues of support available to them both on campus as well as in their local communities, and how to dismantle systemic barriers to services so that more survivors in Muslim communities seek healing and justice. This program also worked to bridge the gap between Muslim students on campus and the support services available to them, such as Title IX offices and anti-sexual assault advocacy departments.

These trainings set the foundation for our long-term vision for our sexual assault work and raised the importance of bringing intersectionality and nuance to the forefront when working to build victim-centric spaces on college campuses.

Why was investing in training peer educators so important?

There is a unique healing and change that is facilitated by student activism, and so we designed this program so that once we trained student leaders, the ongoing programming could be student-led, with our technical assistance. Moreover, these student leaders often continue to become leaders in mosques, other Muslim institutions, and communities, so we want them to feel equipped with skills to identify, address, and prevent sexual violence in their communities as they graduate and give back.

How did community-building factor into the project?

This project was based on strengthening the relationships HEART had built in previous years with Muslim students’ Associations (MSAs) across the nation, as well as with the Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola University that assisted with the evaluation of this project. Much of the success of this program is due to the time and effort our teams spent to build trust and community buy-in with Muslim students on campus, and the student organizations that support them.

What’s next for HEART?

We are excited to continue this work and scale it across the country on various campuses. Some of the groups we worked with expressed interest in establishing a campus-specific HEART chapter to institutionalize this work. We are excited to support that. We hope to not only engage student groups like Muslim Students Associations, but also other groups such as cultural groups and student activist groups to further create intersectional and interdisciplinary programming.

Sexual violence affects everyone – regardless of background, academic, professional, or personal interest – and we believe that every single one of us can play a role to help end sexual violence. We’re excited to help play a role in calling people to action and equipping folks with the tools and language they need to make a difference so that ultimately, they become agents of change in their own communities.

Learn more about HEART Women & Girls’ project and the ways prevention looks in communities via our searchable online RALIANCE Impact Grant portal.  If you are interested in attending the NSAC sessions sponsored by RALIANCE, please visit the conference website. #BoldMoves #NSAC2018.

Ms. Magazine Blog – Bold Moves to End Sexual Violence

This week RALIANCE’s Julie Patrick wrote a guest blog titled Bold Moves to End Sexual Violence: We’re Funding Projects to End Rape and Assault in One Generation for Ms. Magazine.

The blog highlights RALIANCE’s work to advocate for prevention funding and policies that put the needs of survivors first. That’s why RALIANCE is supporting a track at the 2018 National Sexual Assault Conference: We want to share what we’ve learned and engage with people interested in concrete prevention solutions. The seven workshops in the RALIANCE track include RALIANCE’s policy work, sport as a solution to end sexual violence, and a review of a research-informed guide to communicating strategically about sexual violence prevention.

The blog discussed the 52 projects in the last three years RALIANCE has supported. RALIANCE has already pushed $2.3 million in grants that have furthered prevention in communities across the country. And RALIANCE recently opened another round of funding opportunities. The deadline to apply is closing soon – don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of the solution by August 24, 2018.

The Third Rail of the Ohio State Urban Meyer Decision

It has become hard to separate the fan experience from incidents of domestic and sexual violence

By: Brian Pinero

Embed from Getty Images

This week we will learn of the outcome of the investigation by Ohio State University into their head football coach Urban Meyer. Meyer, as reported previously in July, told media members that he was unaware of the alleged domestic violence incidents concerning Zach Smith, a member of his coaching staff. 

However, Meyer may not have been completely honest about his knowledge of the incidents of domestic violence with Coach Smith. And despite that past knowledge, he continued to employ Smith. We know that there was discussion between members of the coaching staff, their partners and later we learned Meyer reported to officials at the university. Yet little, if anything, was done until Smith was fired in late July when he was the subject of a civil protective order.

Even if Coach Meyer followed protocol and reported these issues to Ohio State officials, there are still significant issues with the decision to keep Smith on staff. Reporting is a requirement of these types of incidents, but it is not a sufficient response to it. In the end, continuing to employ someone who was hurting his wife runs counter to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center’s “core values,” which include “treat women with respect.”

Culture cannot live on written core values, it must be lived in practice and action.

As a viewer and fan, I’m moving to a place in my sport experience where I can’t separate athletics from incidents of domestic and sexual violence. Especially in the time of #MeToo, which showed that silence about sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse helps conceal bad behavior. We all play a role in taking a stand against those who are responsible for or complicit in these types of violence.

Mark Titus, an Ohio State alum wrote for the Ringer:

“Fans have helped Ohio State become the behemoth institution that it is. But the one thing I implore everyone in Buckeye Nation to agree on—and the one thing that the university’s administration surely should not lose sight of—is that Urban Meyer needs Ohio State much more than Ohio State needs Urban Meyer.”

Sport is bigger than anyone who tolerates or participates in domestic or sexual violence. Programs like Ohio State have to decide what they want to be as an institution. But much of that comes from what we as fans decide to concede. Fans are the third rail that powers sport. We have to decide what we want to be as supporters of the teams we love.

RALIANCE Announces Grants to Fund Innovative Prevention Projects

Let’s build evidence, promising practices, and replicable programs together! RALIANCE announces our fourth round of funding to support strategies to end sexual violence in one generation.

Submit your Letter of Interest (LOI) to the RALIANCE Impact Grant Program before August 24 to be part of the solution.

Since 2016, the RALIANCE Impact Grant Program has supported 52 projects in three rounds of funding and driven close to $2.3M to prevention strategies working in communities across the nation. Check out how our grantees are making an impact.

These one-year grants, in amounts up to $50,000, are working across three funding categories:

  • Improving the response to victims of sexual violence
  • Reducing the likelihood of perpetration of sexual violence
  • Strengthening community capacity to create safe environments

All LOIs must be received by 11:59pm EST on August 24, 2018. Funded projects will begin April 1, 2019 and continue through March 31, 2020.

For more information such as the guidelines and FAQs , visit

Open Letters to Prevent Sexual Harassment, Misconduct and Abuse in the Workplace

RALIANCE, a Washington, DC-based national partnership dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation, recently partnered with teamed up with human capital professionals Huntbridge, and Kindall Evolve to provide training, tools and consulting to help companies working to strengthen their sexual harassment policies and procedures. The collaboration published a series of four open letters… …

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