Written by Luana Yoshikawa-Scanlan, CDC RPE Project Manager, PRIME Consultant;
Assessing Rape Prevention in our community begins with understanding what it is, and what it is not.
The typical public health approach is to define a ‘problem’, identify ‘risk and protective factors’, develop ‘prevention strategies’, and reach out to the public using these strategies to raise awareness and educate people on how to avoid the problem.
Primary prevention focuses on changing the underlying causes of the problem rather than the problem itself.
In other words, while critical, information like sexual violence prevalence, skills to reduce risk of being victimized, availability of victim services do not prevent the acts of sexual violence.
Primary prevention aims to ‘eliminate and reduce factors’ that enable sexual violence and keep it from happening in the first place. An example of this is active bystander strategies. An active bystander is aware of a situation that may lead to sexual violence and takes action to ensure the violence doesn’t happen.
Outreach, awareness, and education aim to reduce individual risk and increase community support for victims/survivors. These approaches address the possibility (risk factors) of, or aftereffects of violence (personal experiences, beliefs).
Primary prevention, on the other hand, addresses health and social inequities that fuel the social norms that contribute to violence.
The line between primary prevention and the outreach-awareness-education work we do in the community is often blurred and ambiguous. However, this line is what differentiates RPE Primary Prevention: a world without sexual violence. Working from this perspective changes our approach to the outreach-awareness-education. From ‘addressing’ the problem to eradicating the roots of the problem. For example, educating people on how to be healthy, non-violent individuals; learning skills to improve individual wellbeing.
As the Alliance prepares to engage the community in discussions about rape prevention and sexual violence, we are developing discussion questions that aim at the roots of those problems. After all, you cannot solve a problem that you don’t understand, or worse – don’t acknowledge. We encourage people to join upcoming community talanoa and online surveys to share knowledge, experiences, and ideas.
Photo from CDC Violence Prevention site: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/about/publichealthapproach.html
Written by: Jennifer F. Tofaeono, Ex Dir
The Alliance attended a pre-conference session during the National Sexual Assault Conference (NSAC) hosted by Valor to learn more about CDC’s Rape Prevention and Education Program (RPE), during August 22, 2023 – August 24, 2023, The RPE seeks to build and support sexual violence prevention efforts at our local level, including sexual assault coalitions, such as the Alliance.
During the meeting we were tasked to sit with other Coalitions across the United States, as well as researchers, and Department of Health organizations working on RPE Programs. Included was a RPE National Dialogued hosted by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center on August 21, 2023. Participants were asked to explore and frame messages about the work we do to find common ground in a charged climate. We were asked how challenges affecting new or longer-term partnerships during this current time. Members in our group discussed how relationship building takes time, but we recognize it is the key. Another challenge has been using funder jargon that does not connect in communities to do the work. Although we spent time focusing on challenges, we also talked about successes, was the ability to build relationships that were sustainable outside of government or legislative goals and requirements. It meant people were connected to seeing the best for their community, not because of where funding or legislative requirements flowed, but because they understood the issues.
The CDC RPE project thru the Alliance will be based on holding conversations. It is essential to have discussions in the community to understand what rape prevention in American Samoa is. How do we define it, what would make it successful for victims of Rape, and their families. We ask that you follow us as we continue to unpack these discussions. If you would like to learn more about the CDC RPE project please visit: Rape Prevention and Education Program |Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC