The Sexual Assault Prevention Program is an educational program run through The Appalachian Peace and Justice Network in Athens, Ohio. We offer a variety of age appropriate prevention activities tailored for elementary, middle school, high school, and college students, as well as community organizations in Athens, Hocking, Meigs, and Vinton Counties. Workshops for elementary school students focus on empathy and assertiveness skills and can incorporate bully prevention curriculum such as Second Step. Workshops for middle school students focus on communication skills and what a healthy relationship should look like. We talk about consent, I-statements, and active listening, do a lot of discussion around scenarios, and talk about the difference between warning signs and deal breakers. Workshops for high school students build on more of the same and delve deeper into the societal norms that lead to rape allowance culture such as gender stereotypes and the limiting representations of both men and women in the media. We talk more about the principles of prevention and do bystander intervention trainings, where we outlines specific strategies that anyone can use to safely move from being a passive bystander to an active ally in the fight to end harassment, intimidation, and violence.
Our work with community organizations has included similar workshops for the Boy Scouts and after school groups run by Children’s Services and Big Brothers Big Sisters as well as trainings for adults in how to talk to kids about dating, consent, and violence. Adult groups have included teacher in-services, police trainings, workshops for foster parents, and bystander intervention trainings for area bartenders. We have also hosted movie screenings and discussion forums on topics including media representation of women, healthy masculinity, and what men can do to be active allies.
To contact the Sexual Assault Prevention Program call 740-541-2976 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send mail to 18 N. College, Athens, OH 45701.
Our program’s sole focus is on Primary Prevention, as opposed to Secondary or Tertiary Prevention that works with survivors to rebuild skills and begin the healing process after an incident has occurred. Primary Prevention involves strategies that occur before a problem takes place in order to prevent that problem from occurring in the first place. In regard to sexual violence, this means implementation of strategies including running bystander intervention trainings, advocating for strong policy related to sexual harassment or bullying, and training teens on consent. To create change we must address attitudes and beliefs that contribute to the normalizing and acceptance of sexual violence. We must not only look at individual behaviors and beliefs, but also at the belief systems of those that surround the individual, of the communities in which we live, in our institutions, the broader society, and the political system.
Primary Prevention takes sexual assault prevention beyond intervention and risk reduction. This paradigm shifts takes the emphasis away from protective and limiting measures for the potential victim and toward ending perpetration. Primary prevention involves addressing not only the behaviors and attitudes we want to end, but also pushes the dialogue toward behaviors and attitudes we want to see. Ending sexual violence requires a holistic approach that on the outset might appear daunting, but when compared to successful public health campaigns is much more tangible.
The Sexual Assault Prevention Program has existed in some form or another for over 15 years. Programming began at Tri-County Mental Health and Counseling Services with nationally known and tested Child Assault Prevention (CAP) and then expanded to include TeenCAP. In 2006, the focus and funding for the programming changed, and the Sexual Assault Prevention Program was born. Over the past handful of years the Sexual Assault Prevention Program has morphed from a typical risk reduction program, focused on the potential victim, into a primary prevention program utilizing the ecological model and spectrum of prevention to focus on stopping potential perpetration.