This post was originally published on PreventConnect
Raliance is working toward ending sexual violence in one generation. While this may seem aspirational, profound changes toward this vision are taking place in our culture. To document and benchmark these changes, Raliance released today its latest report documenting the state of sexual violence in the U.S.
The report titled “Ending Sexual Violence in One Generation: A progress report for the United States 2017” builds upon Raliance’s inaugural 2016 report continuing to analyze progress in the movement to end sexual violence and how it is shaping public conversation and, ultimately, our culture in how we address this important societal issue. While there is more work to be done, the key trends and examples identified in this report underscore that positive changes are underway and prevention is possible.
Raliance is a national partnership led by National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault-PreventConnect, and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and serves as the central hub for effective allocation and distribution of programmatic funding in sexual violence prevention and as the go-to resource for policymakers, advocates, service providers and the media. Raliance is funded through a $10 million multiyear commitment from the National Football League. The name was inspired by the entity’s intent to rally engagement from stakeholders and align goals and resources behind its overarching mission of putting a stop to sexual violence once and for all.
This blog post first appeared on NOMORE.org.
Raliance believes that sport is an important cultural influencer that can play a huge role in achieving our vision to end sexual violence in one generation. In this vein, Raliance has been exploring the current efforts and possibilities for sexual and domestic violence prevention in and through sport. In 2017, Raliance will release an asset map of current resources across the Sport Pipeline as well as a blueprint that outlines how sport can serve as an avenue and platform to end sexual and domestic violence.
- Sport empowers young leaders
The children are our future, right? So what are we teaching our children in and through sport? We have seen sports teach about healthy relationships. Some sport institutions send a strong message about each individual’s role to end sexual violence and equip them with tools to take action and mobilize their community to end sexual violence. This week, young athletes (and activists) have gathered at a national conference to create calls to actions for sport to take leadership in ending gender-based violence.
- Sport has hard (and transformative!) conversations about ‘manhood’
While the majority of gender-based violence is committed by men and boys, many men and boys never commit acts of violence. It is essential that men and boys have conversations, albeit hard, about healthy masculinity as a means to prevent sexual assault and/or domestic violence from happening. Through Sport, we have seen coaches open their hearts and minds about their role as mentors for young boys about healthy manhood and athletes respond to the challenge to proactively stop violence against women and girls.
- Sport reaches people throughout the entire community
Sport organizations and leagues are omnipresent in most local communities. When these groups ‘team up’ to align their efforts in community-wide prevention strategies, the message is clear and powerful: THIS sport community is committed to ending sexual assault and domestic violence. From regional campaigns that align prevention programs in high school athletics, local businesses, and professional teams to state-by-state trainings that are catalyzing communities to transform sport culture, these strategies are proving that there is incredible potential and power in the collective.
- Sport is a platform to raise awareness (and money to fill gaps!)
With millions of people following and watching sports, sport leagues, teams, and players have an incredible opportunity to model the values and norms in their communities. Athletes can and have used sport as a platform to talk about the connection between our ideas about masculinity and sexual assault as well as raise money to directly fill a gap to address the needs of survivors of sexual assault. Teams can and have used the game itself to raise awareness and engage their spectators to take a stand against sexual and domestic violence.
- Sport leaders take action to prevent sexual and domestic violence
Preventing sexual assault and domestic violence specifically is not the key mission of sport organizations, but supporting the well-being of every individual is a core component of every sport organization. Therefore, approaches and strategies that aim to do both are integral to both ‘on the field’ and ‘off the field’ instruction. Many teams are building in time during the season and in the off-season to support coaches, league administrators, and athletes learning to understand the problem and how to be part of the solution to end sexual and domestic violence. Some sports organizations have incorporated sexual and domestic violence prevention into the ‘job description’ for coaches and have instituted leadership trainings for all coaches to support them in this role.
- Sport builds partnerships for the community good.
National sport institutions and organizations have partnered with subject-matter experts to build sport-specific resources for their community, combining the expertise around the ins and outs of a particular sport’s systems and climate with the decades of knowledge held by the sexual and domestic violence field to develop creative and comprehensive strategies and resources.
- Sport creates a ripple effect down the pipeline
Sport inherently provides an incredible mentoring system, where peers look up to successful peers and coaches replicate successful strategies used by other coaches. Coaches’ influence on the field continues ‘off the field’ as well, inspiring some young athletes to channel their professional sport heroes and challenge coaches in their communities to take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault. In this way, the sport system can align efforts to leverage this exponential impact toward ending sexual and domestic violence
- Sport lifts up female athletes as leaders (not just potential victims)
A world free of gender-based violence would recognize, value, and lift up all of the various talents that girls and women bring to a team, workplace, and society overall. Sport is one place where women and young girls gain confidence and connection to a community (which are factors that reduce risk for sexual assault and domestic violence). In addition, sport programs are teaching young girls that they are important leaders in demanding and reinforcing a culture that denounces violence and supports healthy individuals, relationships, and communities.
- Sport’s commitment starts with the youngest athletes
Preventing sexual and domestic violence starts early – and sport programs also start early. Some youth sports programs are setting standards and norms in sport that protect against sexual and domestic violence down the road.
- Sport’s commitment comes from from the top
Professional leagues often have a huge impact in their home towns, often setting a standard for community engagement and using their platform to reinforce the values of the community. Incredible advancements have been made locally in addressing and preventing sexual and domestic violence when local Club presidents and national leagues have prioritized this cause. In rare cases, long-standing partnerships between local teams and subject-matter experts have shifted the way the entire community views and responds to domestic and sexual violence!
About Raliance: Raliance is a collaborative initiative dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation. As the go to resource for policymakers, advocates, service providers, prevention practitioners and the media, Raliance boldly and innovatively advances the field nationally. Raliance is comprised of three national sexual violence prevention organizations – the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA)’s national project PreventConnect, and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) – with over 70 years of anti sexual violence activism.
By: Sterling Summerville & Lindsay McDaniel Mapp
“Why do we all know a man that was heavyweight champion 45 years ago, and don’t know who the heavyweight champion is today? That’s what every athlete, every entertainer ought to think about, is what are they going to say about me forty years from now. Why do they honor Ali, and will they honor me? It’s because he stood for something, and by standing for something, he made us stronger, and he made us better.” – Rev. Al Sharpton
Today we speak of a man with many names: Ali, The G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), Cassius Clay, The Louisville Lip, The Greatest, and known to most by his full name which he changed in the mid-60’s as he converted to the religion of Islam, Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali’s legacy is one that arguably has transcended that of any athlete past or present. Living his most public years in a country rife with the domestic turmoil surrounding the civil rights movement, the outspoken African-American Boxer of the 1960’s and 70’s has been cited as an inspiration for people around the world. Not simply for the way he dominated the boxing world of his time, but perhaps even more so because of who he was as a person.
Given the prodigious stature of Ali’s boxing resume, it would be a lengthy speech to speak on his accolades and athletic prowess alone. While these are incredible athletic accomplishments, we see Ali’s legacy as having an invaluable impact on the world as a champion for social equality and justice. A figure known for standing up for what he believed in and preaching against the same doctrines of hate that plague the world today. Famous for his outlandish and boisterous rhetoric, Ali used his platform as an athlete to speak out against racial injustice and war. Even going as far as being banned from the sport he loved, in the prime of his career, for refusing to participate as a soldier in the Vietnam War.
That particular sacrifice was the toll he paid as an individual to create societal change. The avenue that Ali chose to take as a peace advocate is one that every athlete, old or young, professional or amateur has the option to choose. It does not have to be on national television or even vocally proclaimed. It does not have to lead to suspension or be done in front of reporters. Taking a stance against injustice is a responsibility and a choice that every athlete can exercise by tapping into the power inside of them. Ali was unapologetic in his exercising and sharing the power he found within himself and, by doing so, led to many of us to find solace and strength in his memory.
Ali’s brand of bravery and courage are rare and often unusual in the sports world, but the world could stand to have a few more Ali’s in it. And what would that world look like if more athletes used their platform and influence as Ali did?
As part of its national partnership with the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Prevent Connect / CALCASA is looking at how Sports and Athletics is being utilized both as avenue to carry out sexual violence prevention efforts, and as a platform to catalyze change. Sterling, as a former collegiate athlete turned social justice activist, and Lindsay, also a former athlete and fervent fan of all things ‘sport’, look to Ali’s legacy as a blueprint for how athletes and all those engaged in Sports and Athletics can take action out of the ring (or off the field) to incite societal change and create the cultural conditions in which sexual violence can no longer exist.
Sterling Summerville is a consultant for CALCASA/PreventConnect on our ‘Sexual Violence Prevention in Sports’ project. Sterling brings both personal experience as an athlete and professional training as a sexual violence prevention advocate to this work.
The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault / PreventConnect, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, and the National Sexual Violence Resource are on a mission to end sexual violence in one generation!
To help us build collective power and voice to achieve this, we are organizing a Youth Summit in March 2017 in Washington DC. The purpose of this event will be to engage more than 100 High School students at a 3-day summit. At the Youth Summit, participants will engage in leadership and learning opportunities through three tracks:
- Using social media and messaging to change public opinion and discourse about gender-based violence
- Leveraging the influence of ‘sports’ and athletes to end gender-based violence
- Catalyzing individuals and communities through community organizing and policy advocacy to end gender-based violence
Call for Applications for the Youth Summit Planning Council
We invite established, gender-based violence prevention activists and leaders to apply to join the 2017 Youth Summit Planning Council.
Please encourage any leader or activist who meets the following criteria to apply (see Application for full details)!
- Between the ages of 18 and 25
- Must be fully available to complete the above listed Council Member Commitments
- Has at least 1 year experience in leading, participating in, or organizing gender-based violence prevention activities, particularly as it relates to any of the three conference tracks
- Currently engaged and/or connected to local gender-based prevention violence work, preferably through an established local, state, or national mission-driven organization or network
- Has experience working, living, or volunteering in diverse settings and environments
- Is self-directed, dependable, creative, and passionate about ending gender-based violence in one generation
DEADLINE for Submission: 5:00pm PT on Wednesday June 22, 2016.
This week, I attended the “A CALL TO COACHES” event in Northern Virginia. This free educational training sponsored by A CALL TO MEN supports coaches to use their platform and role as a mentor and leader in the lives of young men and boys to promote healthy and respectful manhood. Troy Vincent, Executive Vice President of Football Operations at the NFL, started the event speaking directly to coaches about their role and opportunity to build young men of character and ended with the challenge “I’m using my voice and my platform, use yours.”
Additional community leaders from the DC metro area joined in a panel discussion to response to a key question “What does healthy, respectful manhood mean to you?” The group shared specific examples of how coaches and leaders in the athletics systems can teach important life lessons through sports. A CALL TO MEN’s Tony Porter pointed out that a coach always has a captive audience after a game, when the players are all on one knee looking up at the coach, and stated “What are great time to talk about character, respect, and love.”
Athletics is a powerful development space for millions of youth in the United States and has a very influential platform from which to contribute to a culture in which sexual violence no longer exists. Let’s continue the conversations that A CALL TO MEN is starting in athletics and encourage coaches around the country to respond to this opportunity. In the Fall 2016, more A CALL TO COACHES educational trainings will takes place in Atlanta, GA, Houston, TX, and Los Angeles, CA.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), PreventConnect/California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (PreventConnect/CALCASA) and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) have established a new partnership (The National Partners) in order to increase visibility of, and access to, sexual violence prevention expertise. This initiative has received seed funding from the National Football League (NFL) to coordinate prevention, policy, and messaging efforts; establish a presence in the Washington, DC metro area; and to award grants to advance a variety of promising practices and policies that can be replicated.
PreventConnect and our national partners are excited to launch this new funding opportunity for 501(c)3 organizations who have experience with addressing and/or preventing sexual violence. We are seeking to fund replicable promising practices to:
- Improve response to victims of sexual assault;
- Reduce the likelihood of perpetration of sexual assault; and/or
- Strengthen communities’ capacity to create safe environments.
To apply for this great new opportunity, please complete the Intent to Submit form by January 22rd, 2016. You can also access the grant announcement, guidelines, and FAQs to learn more about this new funding opportunity.