The latest PreventConnect Reading Club session on “Addressing Cultural Issues in Prevention Programming and Research” reaffirms the need for more time, more opportunities/venues, as well as communities committed to creating healthier social norms when discussing cultural nuances. Participants from around the country raised critical questions about current practices of integrating cultural relevance into prevention programming.
Somes questions asked in the reading (unfortunately, they were not fully addressed by the chapter’s authors) but were later echoed by participants:
- What are the implications of a professional from one culture introducing ideas of “acceptable” or non-violent sexuality to another person or culture?
- Who is at the table when designing prevention programs? How are voices and experiences being heard?
When reflecting on a section that highlights the charge of facilitating a conversation that recognizes the historically negative relationship between law enforcement and communities of color while also “not allowing the discussion to absolve perpetrators of sexual violence from [oppressed] communities of responsibility for their actions,” participants referred to the discussion surrounding Rachel Lloyd’s book Girls Like Us on coercion, cultures and law enforcement (see links below). No easy answer to any of these questions. But participants reiterated the need for honest and open conversations about oppression.
Ultimately, the discussion served as starting point for practitioners to share their work with each other and gain insight on how to strengthen our approach(es) to ending sexual violence where cultural relevance stops being an after thought but rather the driving force in designing, implementing, and evaluating prevention efforts.
How are you reframing sexual violence prevention work to be inclusive and culturally specific? Share your thoughts and resources to continue the discussion.