Statistic or Story?



Date of Publication
February, 2013

Tell a prevention story.

We are trying to prevent a social problem: sexual violence is epidemic. Since we are tackling such a large issue, our efforts can draw disagreements or resistance. It is easy to fall into the argument trap, and try to fight fire with fire. After all, if they only understood, how could they possibly disagree?

Statistics are a natural thing to reach for when justifying arguments or preparing presentations. For you and me, statistics might tell a rich story or paint a picture of the magnitude of sexual violence. For others, they might not. Numbers are hard to digest and interpret, and worse: they don't tell a story. In some situations, people are even left to themselves to draw conclusions.

Know your narrative. Have a story of your work and the importance of your work. If you use statistics, they should be able to sit within your story and support it, rather than being the story itself.

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