Throughout the #PowerInPrevention web conference series we have made a point to ask our speakers and audience members what their “takeaways” are from the session. We’ve felt it’s important along with action steps individuals are committing to in their work to prevent child sexual abuse, they have a moment to reflect on what resonated with them most during the session. With the close of our third series, we at PreventConnect wanted to give our hosts a chance to tell the community of practitioners we’ve gathered what it’s like behind the curtain of such a project. Without their expertise, personal and professional commitment, the body of work PreventConnect has been able to collect over a three year period wouldn’t be possible, and we are ever grateful.
Cordelia Anderson, MA
In 1976 when I began on my journey to promote sexual health and prevent all types of sexual harm including child sexual abuse, I couldn’t have imaged the opportunity to sit in my home office and use a personal lap top to connect with a community of a wide range of professionals dedicated to doing what they could to end the sexual abuse of children. It was a pleasure to work with my co-cost Joan Tabachnick, who also brought many years of experience to our team and skills perspective much needed to expand and augment my own thinking. Prevent-Connect never stops finding new ways to use technology to advance prevention so it was of course an honor to asked to be consultants on their MS Foundation for Women grant to develop and conduct a webinar series focused on Ending Child Sexual Abuse.
What an honor and privilege to work with a strong team to identify critical issues for each session and then to find the best thought leaders and experts to be a catalyst for discussion with the audiences. Co-hosting meant an opportunity to frame why each topic was important but also to learn from the amazing range of people who gifted us with their knowledge. In my past life I worked at a theater and we used theater as a tool for social change and to educate audiences on these issues. I always considered the second act to be the discussion with the audience. The discussion was an opportunity not only to clarify messages but to learn from each other and build a community of people willing and able to talk about sexual abuse. The web conferences are a very different medium, but like the theater, the second act is clearly the active participants. We never had a web conference where we were not only learning from the presenters, but we were challenged to keep up with the thoughtful questions and compassionate exchanges of a community of learners and teachers. Three years it started out feeling a bit odd to sit alone in my home office talking to my screen, but I quickly learned through the lively chat and engaging presenters that without getting in a tour van or plane, I was far from alone. Indeed, I was part of what was often an international community of people committed to ending child sexual abuse. What a gift and the fact all the sessions for the three years are recorded means this valuable resource can continue to give.