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.
I have loved co-hosting the Ending Child Sexual Abuse Web Conference series with the amazing Cordelia Anderson and the equally fantastic Leona Smith Di Faustino.
For me personally, it has been an incredible honor to have the chance to brainstorm what I think is the most crucial issue(s) in our field. And then I have the additional joy of contacting friends, colleagues and people in our field that I admire to join us in a thoughtful and thought provoking conversation about these crucial topics.
For me professionally, it has been such an incredible learning experience to work with so many individuals from across the country and humbling as well. After working in this field for nearly 25 years, I know I have some important perspectives to offer. But with each web conference, I see how much I still have to learn and I am in awe about how much each of our speakers has to offer. I also need to mention that each of our speakers, many who are nationally recognized for their work, give of their time and expertise with no reimbursement at all. That is part of what makes this movement so amazing.
So what have I been learning? In just this year, I learned from Strong Oak and Guadalupe speaking about Promising Practices in Indigenous Communities about the power of listening as an important ACTION. I think until this webinar, I thought of listening as a passive process – not fully taking in how listening builds understanding and community and the process is a necessary and crucial part of community building. From Kimber and Milly speaking about migrant workers I learned about the unique barriers facing the migrant workers and how these two women have found ways to weave resources and trust through the communities they have joined with. And through Rush and Emily speaking about Trafficking, I learned about the powerful connections between child sexual abuse and later exploitation and the ways that these pathways to trauma can be prevented.
And then there is the technology. Who would have thought that I could be talking with over 200 people from all parts of the country (or the world) from my own home! As a confirmed introvert who loves connection, this has been a surprisingly perfect solution. I can see in each web conference how one idea written in by one of the participants, sparks ideas and connections with other participants and the speakers. This spontaneous exchange brings a wide range of resources into focus in ways that I could never have thought possible. I only wish we could follow-up with everyone to see where the information and the promised actions have taking them in their individual and maybe now more connected journeys.
I do want to thank Prevent-Connect for making this happen and the Ms Foundation for Women for their vision of creating more inter-connected communities. And maybe most importantly, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has participated in one or more of these web conferences!