Leaning into the kinds of environments all students deserve

In the wake of the Department of Education’s latest weakening of Title IX protections, campus administrators across the country are re-examining their role in creating safer environments for all students. The federal civil rights law protects students and staff alike from discrimination based on sex at schools receiving federal funding –and this includes acting upon reports of sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault.

While federal mandates may no longer require as robust a response, now is not the time to back down from what young people, parents, advocates, and community members demand for a student’s education experience.

RALIANCE was proud to award an impact grant to the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) in 2016-2017 to improve perpetration prevention strategies for colleges. PAAR assembled a team comprised of victim services, school administrators, and sex offender treatment professionals to examine sanctioning practices at three Allegheny County, Pennsylvania universities. The goal was to better train and offer accountability options for universities to address changing behaviors and understanding possible risk.

PAAR’s Alison Hall & Julie Evans as well as RALIANCE’s Julie Patrick recently discussed this project in a guest prevention blog for the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers called “Redefining campus sanctions for sexual misconduct as a strategy for prevention.”

As the conversation about Title IX continues to evolve, schools need examples of ways to lean into the kinds of environments and cultures all students deserve. Check it out and let us know your thoughts!

Prevention Strategies and College Football

A group of economists recently published an analysis that suggests the rise in sexual assault during big college football games is likely due to the increased partying and alcohol consumption that accompany them.

To be clear, alcohol does not cause sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse, it can, however, be used to excuse aggressive behavior and place blame on the victim. These results call on the need for prevention strategies that address behaviors that occur during big college football games.


Recap: #Bold Moves at the 2018 National Sexual Assault Conference

As MeToo Founder Tarana Burke said, “We come to the work because we are the work.” These are the inspiring and true words of Tarana Burke, who was the keynote speaker at this year’s National Sexual Assault Conference (NSAC).

RALIANCE had the opportunity to attend the conference last week in Anaheim, California. We not only connected with sexual violence prevention advocates across the country, but also sponsored a series of workshops to explore how we can better work toward our shared goal of ending sexual violence in one generation.

Here is a rundown of some of the key themes and takeaways from NSAC 2018:

Be Bold

NSAC’s theme, #BoldMoves, was inspired by RALIANCE’s bold vision of “Ending sexual violence in one generation.” Nearly 2,000 allies, advocates, survivors and friends gathered at this year’s conference to inspire and share best practices in our work to change the culture and improve sexual violence prevention and intervention.

This is the generation that will end sexual violence

Keynote speakers Menominee activist KayTeshia Wescott; Dalton Dagondon Diggs from the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence; and Melody Klingenfuss, a California Dream Network statewide youth organizer working with the Coalition for Humane and Immigrant Rights discussed the importance of mentoring and engaging youth in this work. Check out the livestream!

Communicating about sexual violence prevention matters

RALIANCE debuted a new messaging guide at NSAC with strategies on how to be more effective communicating about prevention. We know prevention is possible and happening. Now, the world needs to better understand the role they can play to end sexual violence in one generation. Explore the guide!

Ms. Magazine Blog: Bold Moves to End Sexual Violence: Three Tips for Talking About Prevention

More from #NSAC2018! RALIANCE’s second Ms. Magazine Blog: Bold moves to end sexual violence: Three tips for talking about prevention.

Efforts to prevent and stop sexual violence are underway in communities across the country—and while it’s not always clear that our small actions can result in big cultural changes, prevention is possible, and it’s happeningTalking about the progress we have made is also challenging—and that’s why RALIANCE teamed up with the Berkeley Media Studies Group to release a new report to guide individuals on how to talk about prevention

Sport is part of the solution #BoldMoves #NSAC2018

Bold moves are not for the faint of heart. Rarely do we get up to bat for the first time and hit it out of the park. Even the greatest three-point shooters alive miss more than they make. More likely, we fail, we learn, we repeat until we succeed. This willingness to take risks, and more broadly, the ease of applying sports metaphors to our daily lives, is no coincidence: RALIANCE knows sport is part of the solution to sexual violence and plays a critical role in engaging people across the sports pipeline to end sexual and domestic violence in one generation.

RALIANCE partners with a wide-range of organizations to improve their cultures and create environments free from sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse. In December 2017, we launched the Sport + Prevention Center, a first-of-its-kind online resource that engages the sport community as a partner in ending sexual and domestic violence.

The Sport + Prevention Center is first and foremost a prevention database. Users can search more than 100 sexual and domestic violence prevention strategies across the sport pipeline, from youth sports through high school, collegiate, professional, all the way to Olympic-level. The center also provides solutions based on audience, with specific options geared toward parents, coaches, athletes, and more.

We partnered with the University of San Diego Center for Gender Equity and Health to research prevention in and through sport to ensure the resource was grounded in proven research. We conducted a thorough review of the academic literature and interviewed almost 50 experts, from whom we learned that sport can be both an agent and a platform of social change. Sport can help teach and reinforce the norms of sexual violence prevention, both within the sport setting and into the world beyond. And coaches, athletes and teams have incredible social capital with which to influence the broader norms that shape our culture and our interaction with other people.

We translated these findings into a roadmap of specific action steps the sport community can take to achieve their goals. And we understood that people needed a learning exchange – a place to come together and share all of this information, best practices, lessons learned and opportunities for additional progress toward prevention.

We believe sport is a strategy for prevention and an integral part of the solution.. Join us and be a part of the solution, too. We’re at the 2018 National Sexual Assault Conference in Anaheim, California because we need #BoldMoves to end sexual violence.

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.

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