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By on February 13, 2014

What is prevention?

Question Mark Dice As Symbol For InformationWe talk about prevention quite a bit over here at CALCASA (shocking), and it can be a constant miasma of thoughts of what is and what isn’t technically “it”. Strong opinions are shared, discussed, and in our more impassioned moments; heatedly debated. As I exist in this constant state of awareness regarding prevention work it can be quite taxing to just be a regular consumer of prevention messages. This became painfully obvious when I happened upon a post on Facebook (where it seems I receive a great deal of my social messaging). I don’t usually click on  posts that use ambiguous tag lines to garner interest in a social issue. Mostly because 1) they usually aren’t what they appear to be, 2) they usually annoy me, or 3) they make me think differently about the person that posted them, which is often in a negative way. Blame it on curiosity or page scroll fatigue but I took the bait and clicked this time and I’m glad I did.

The video was provocative, edgy, and captured the knee jerk reaction one needs when discussing the impact of human trafficking on sex work. I lost myself in the narrative the filmmaker was creating and even though I had an idea of what the ending might be, I felt my heart beat just a little faster at the big reveal. In a nutshell, I was moved. I was forced to pause and reflect. Mostly, I was driven to look up more on the organization that’s information flashed at the end. I became so excited I thought, “I’ll blog about this”, but the hamster wheel of, “What is prevention?”, began to rotate almost immediately as I finished that thought. I quickly tumbled down the rabbit hole of, “Is this prevention?”, I found myself picking apart every piece of the short clip. Is this primary prevention? Is it an awareness campaign? Is this somewhere on the spectrum? Oi!

As my thoughts spun around and around I soon lost my initial reaction after seeing the video; feeling moved. Unlike the person that shared the video, without preamble or post script, I’d gotten so wrapped up in the theory that I’d failed to appreciate the practice. When viewed from this perspective I wonder how important the answer to the question is?


One response to “What is prevention?”

  1. I find the language of primary and secondary prevention less clear than the terms used by the substance abuse prevention community. They talk about “universal” programming, “targeted” programming, and then “treatment.” Don’t know if that helps you, but I find that approach clearer in meaning.

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