Prevention is one integral part of the anti-sexual violence movement. The understanding that sexual violence is preventable is rooted in the framework that this violence occurs within a continuum of events that support a rape culture. Feminist theory and public health models have given us tools to understand social contexts and create comprehensive strategies to end sexual violence. The goal is to reduce the impact of sexual violence upon individuals, our communities, and in society.
You can read more about some of the theories of social and personal change in the resource "Guidelines for the Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence & Intimate Partner Violence" from the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance. See pages 31-35.
Public health classifies prevention efforts into three levels:
While it is important to work across the levels of prevention, historically prevention has occurred at the secondary and tertiary levels therefore currently there is much emphasis on primary prevention. Primary prevention efforts address the root causes of sexual violence. In line with public health, this approach shifts the responsibility of prevention to society and off of victims.
In Washington State, our prevention efforts are largely focused on primary prevention strategies. Our state goal is to change norms, values, beliefs and attitudes that contribute to sexual violence and shift ownership of the solutions to the community.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) outlines five of the common norms that shape our attitudes, values, and behavior and contribute to the environment of sexual violence:
To learn more about our model of primary prevention watch the quick video below: