Photo courtesy of NPR

Every time I get on the highway, I feel surrounded by tractor-trailers. As I travel throughout California, I notice them more and more on the roads and at the rest stops. I had no idea that many of the drivers were my allies in ending violence against women!

“Truckers Against Trafficking” is a nonprofit that trains truck drivers on ways to identify the warning signs of human trafficking and gives them resources to intervene. Sarah Jakiel  [founder of the hotline] said,

some of the best calls come from truckers because they’re at the center of things, in an “incredibly unique position to recognize and report sex trafficking of children in this country. They’re seeing it at truck stops, travel plazas.” (NPR)

This story inspired me to think outside of the box and analyze my potential partners in this work. Who else can you engage in the work to end sexual violence and human trafficking?

For the full story from NPR, click here. 

To learn more about Truckers Against Trafficking, visit their site.

Last night, I went to the gym – a place where I usually tune out, rock out to my headphones, and well, workout. I say hi to the people I know, catch up with a few friends, but I don’t spend much time listening in on others conversations. Last night I was working out near a group of young women and men who were training as part of a team. I was thinking – oh man, how cool. I think I would have felt really empowered as an 11 year old girl being so physically fit and part of a team like that. I was getting all excited about how there were more girls than guys that were part of this team, and how they were doing equal workouts, and giving them mental feminist high fives all around. Then, I got knocked right off my treadmill.

The coach of these girls pulled them aside and said, “You need to stop showing your midriffs. It is inappropriate and that is my personal preference, you can do what you want but I think you should stop and take a moment to think about what you are wearing”.

PANIC!! [click to continue…]

When I think for the benefits of bystander intervention, my thoughts initially turn to the positive impact that a bystander can have for a victim (or potential victim). Recent research suggests that bystanders may experience separate and distinct health impacts that deserve attention and focus from health care professionals, parents, teachers, and support networks. In “Morbidity among bystanders of bullying behavior at school: concepts, concerns, and clinical/research issues”, Ian Rivers discusses the complexities of bystander behavior and how the social dynamics of bystander intervention can determine the long term sequele of an individual’s mental health. Rivers determined that “the mental health implications … vary according to the category or type of bystander a student becomes”, types ranging from those who support the bully or perpetrator to ones that actively fight for the rights of the victim. River’s conclusion:

It is incumbent upon schools and those who administer schools to find ways of supporting the whole educational community rather than focusing their attention upon victims and perpetrators. Post-traumatic stress, internalized hostility, substance use, and suicide ideation are issues as commonly found among witnesses as they are among victims of assault, abuse, natural disasters, or man-made events (Rivers, 2012)

What are ways in which you support a bystander not only as the intervene but after the incident?

To learn more:

[click to continue…]

In September, I’ll be traveling to two regional meetings to provide trainings on Bystander Intervention as a framework for providing primary prevention education. This training will provide an overview of the principles of bystander intervention for primary prevention efforts. Participants will explore the potential benefits of integrating these concepts into existing prevention programs. I will be leading this session using concepts from leading bystander intervention program throughout the country. Here are the details: [click to continue…]

The Higher Education Center’s Prevention Update: Bystander InterventionNow Posted

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, bystander intervention programs teach potential witnesses safe and positive ways that they can act to prevent or intervene when there is a risk for sexual violence. “A bystander approach gives community members specific roles that they can use in preventing sexual violence, including naming and stopping situations before they happen, stepping in during an incident, and speaking out against ideas and behaviors that support sexual violence. This approach develops skills to be an effective and supportive ally to survivors after an assault has taken place.”

To view online or download Bystander Intervention, please visit the Prevention Updates page on the Center’s Web site.

To learn more about Bystander Intervention, you can also visit the PreventConnect Wiki

In a recent issue of the Journal of American College Health, Sharyn J. Potter, PhD, MPH discusses an evaluation of the “Know Your Power” bystander oriented social marketing campaign. Her article “Using a Multimedia Social Marketing Campaign to Increase Active Bystanders on the College Campus” concluded that exposure to the “Know Your Power” social marketing campaign increased student awareness of their role in reducing violence as well as their self-reported expressed willingness to get involved in reducing violence as an active bystander. Potter and her team conducted pre- and posttests of 353 undergraduate students at a public college over a 6 month period, and assessed participant’s responses based on a stage of scale score.

Implementing a social marketing campaign can be relatively cost-effective and simple, and can increase awareness of a particular public health concern and inspire viewers to take action. As beneficial as social marketing can be, it cannot serve as a substitute for a comprehensive primary prevention program that integrates bystander intervention across multiple levels of the social ecological level. [click to continue…]

Social media and social norms: Using a multimedia campaign to change bystander behavior