I want to start this blog by stating that this is all based on my own opinion and observation, but I do believe that primary prevention is beginning to show its effects. I gave three presentations throughout the Fredericksburg community over the last week and I noticed something different in participants’ responses. I usually give a scenario of a sexual assault and ask participants what they believe could have been done to prevent the assault from taking place; I facilitate this exercise for participants to recognize those biases that we have all been taught in the American society and expect the answers that the victim is partially responsible. *On a side note, this is where I begin to teach that it is NEVER the victim’s fault and then speak about perpetrator and bystander responsibility* However, I’m not getting these “typical” responses anymore. Participants are responding that it’s solely the perpetrator’s fault (yay!), which leaves me without the biases to squash but with excitement and pride in my heart that all of our industry’s work is paying off. In the middle of my speaking about perpetrator responsibility, one participant spoke up asking about the responsibility of bystanders (yay!).
Now, I recognize that this is neither qualitative nor quantitative data on the effects of primary prevention trainings, but I take it to mean that the idea is beginning to saturate the community. I take it to mean that my presentation is no longer likely to be the first that speaks of bystander intervention. And more and more I’m getting the impression that community members are questioning long standing biases and expecting more out of themselves and others in regards to stopping sexual violence. All I can say is YAY!!!!