Jeff Milroy, Jody Redman, Kathleen Basile, Jessica Wagner and David Lee (left to right) presented at APHA

This week, CALCASA attended the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia to share how sport is an important part of the solution to end sexual violence. In a session on Monday entitled “Sport as a platform to advance a culture of prevention,” Director of Prevention David Lee discussed the power of sport and athletics to promote well-being and advance a culture of prevention. He also highlighted the roadmap to create change from RALIANCE’s Sport + Prevention Center.

Other session panelists included Dr. Kathleen Basile of the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, who spoke about how middle school sports involvement contributes to better understanding sexual violence in high school; Jessica Wagner of the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute, who spoke about the role of the NCAA in creating health promotion for college campuses; and Inside Outside Initiative’s Jody Redman, who shared her experience of reclaiming the educational purpose of high school sport for prevention.

The next day ushered in a full session entitled, “Sport as a platform to advance a culture of health.” The discussion focused on how to build a network that advances prevention and brings together public health best practices to sport. This session was facilitated by David Lee, NCAA’s Jessica Wagner, and Jeff Milroy of Institute to Promote Athlete Health & Wellness at the University of North Carolina Greenville. From researchers, athletic trainers, athletes, sports management, coaches, officials, and parents, it was clear from the discussion that there is tremendous interest in building a network dedicated to using the power of sport to foster healthy athletes and communities.

Despite the headlines these days exposing high-profiles cases of unchecked sexual abuse in different in sports, our productive sessions at the APHA annual meeting shine a light on how sport is a powerful and positive force in our society. It has the potentialhere to instill important values in athletes, shape positive attitudes, and build strong communities.

“Bold Moves. Equity Now” was announced today as the theme of the 2020 National Sexual Assault Conference.  NSAC will take place in Anaheim, CA on September 2-4, 2020. The Call for Proposals to submit a proposed workshop is open until December 23, 2019.  Conference registration will open in April 2020.

The National Sexual Assault Conference (NSAC) raises the profile of sexual violence as a community issue that requires bold actions in order to change the social inequities that create and perpetuate sexual violence. Social inequities create disproportionate impacts upheld by systematic, institutional, and interpersonal oppression, of which sexual violence is a result. To end sexual violence it will take BOLD MOVES to promote EQUITY NOW.
NSAC brings together over 1700 people who are invested in ending sexual violence. This annual conference provides opportunities to share information and resources, advance learning, develop new skills, and increase our capacity to assert the dignity of all people. NSAC raises the profile of sexual violence as a community issue that requires bold actions in order to change the social inequities that create and perpetuate sexual violence. Together at NSAC, we build strong partnerships and develop strategies to strengthen our work to end sexual violence.
CALCASA is a rotating host of NSAC with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Cover of book You Throw LIke a Girl: The Blind Side of Masculnity with pciture of authro Don MsPherson, African AMerican man with beared wearing blue shirt and darker blue sweater“How do we raise boys to be whole men without degrading our daughters in the process?” asks Don McPherson in his newly released book You Throw Like a Girl: The Blind Spot of Masculinity.  This former National Football League and Canadian Football League quarterback proceeds to explore how to do speaking not only as a man, as an African American and as an athletic, but as a person dedicated to preventing gender based violence. McPherson tells his story of becoming and being a prevention practitioner.

The book’s title is a common insult from men to other men.  In these pages, McPherson calls to men to explore what they can become. He insists that “we should be asking more what boys and men can become and asking less what they should or shouldn’t do.”

Drawing on his experiences as a boy, as a son, as an athlete and as person working to prevent men’s violence, he provides many examples of how to challenge men to move away from sexist, homophobic and misogyny.  Similar to what another Syracuse University football star Joe Ehrmann wrote in his book InsideOut Coaching, McPherson demonstrated how sport can go beyond reinforcing negative and destructive male norms, and help shape positive behaviors.

He credits those whom have help teach him, from Mentors in Violence Prevention founder Jackson Katz, to Oakland Men’s Project development of the “Act Like a Man Box” to his father’s examples of loving his family. I was moved by his stories of how he learned to be a man from our culture, and how he had to relearn how to become the man working to be a healthy man actively engaged to prevent men’s violence.

We need more examples like Don McPherson of how to work to create a world without violence.

Check out RALIANCE’s Sport + Prevention Center on strategies to engage sport to be part of the solution to preventing sexual and domestic violence.

Today, I gave testimony to the House Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel Hearing titled “Shattered Families, Shattered Service: Taking Military Domestic Violence Out of the Shadows.”  I spoke about the need for the armed services to invest in prevention efforts.  Other panelists included courageous survivors telling their personal stories and colleagues from the National Resource. Center on Domestic Violence and the Battered Women’s Justice Project.

Based on my experience doing sexual and domestic violence prevention work in communities (including work with service members),  through CALCASA’s national project PreventConnect and my work with sport with the national partnership RALIANCE, I highlighted some key prevention resources including the Blue Shield of California Foundation Report A Life Course Framework for Preventing Domestic Violence and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies, and Practices.

Most importantly, the armed services need to invest in prevention.  I wrote in my testimony:

It is essential to respond to the needs of survivors in a trauma informed manner, assert the dignity of all people, and to hold those who have committed abuse accountable. However, those responses after violence has occurred are not sufficient to prevent such forms of violence from happening in the first place, nor are they sufficient to prevent them from happening in the future. Only with an intentional investment in prevention, will we be able to change the culture that creates the conditions which allow domestic violence, and other forms of violence, to continue, to a culture that is free from domestic violence and other forms of violence.

Watch the entire hearing below (my testimony begins at 58:58), and click here to see my entire written testimony:


Audience at It's On Us SummitRALIANCE is proud to be a sponsor of the first ever It’s On Us National Student Leadership Summit to Combat Sexual Assault held last week at Ohio University in Athens, OH. RALIANCE’s John Finley presented a workshop for student activists and leaders committed to ending sexual violence nationwide that focused on how sports culture can be leveraged as a critical part of the solution to ending sexual assault on college campuses, and how our work can move beyond simply labeling athletes as perpetrators to an understanding best practices for engaging them in a prevention movement.  Students shared their experiences with sports culture on their campuses, and discussed the best ways to get athletes to take preventing sexual violence seriously.

RALIANCE has developed its Sport + Prevention Center that highlights strategies and resources for sport to be part of the solution to end sexual violence.  CALCASA is a partner is the national partnership RALIANCE.

Two female soldiers walk back after checking their targets at a qualification range at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, March 9, 2014.

Last week’s Department of Defense’s 2018 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military reported more than 37% increase of “some kind of contact or penetrative sexual assault” of service members as compared to 2016 based on data from an anonymous survey of military service members. In a memo, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan commented on the need for action in light of these findings: “To put it bluntly, we are not performing to the standards and expectations we have for ourselves or each other.”


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What it will take to prevent sexual violence in the military