Rape Response Services offers a number of primary prevention trainings to schools, businesses, and community groups. What is primary prevention? Primary prevention uses the public health model as a guide for teaching everyone how to prevent sexual violence. Read more to find out how!

Ensuring quality services for victims/survivors of sexual violence is central to our work at RRS. However, it must be partnered with effective prevention if we’re going to get serious about ending the need for those services. For years, prevention has been primarily about victims, and the ways they can and should change their behavior to avoid sexual violence. More recently, this approach has been seen as putting the responsibility for sexual violence on survivors. Instead, across the country, there is a movement toward ‘primary prevention’- a kind of prevention that seeks to end sexual violence before it begins, and to put the responsibility of doing so on everyone.

Primary prevention uses the public health model as a guide. Here’s how it works: People get sick; public health seeks to determine why, and what behavior can change this outcome. It turns out germs are the ‘why.’ So do we ask that only people with colds change their behavior? No– the public health model looks for solutions that everyone can implement to stop the spread of germs: washing your hands, sneezing into your arm, and more. And everyone is expected to do their part.

At RRS, we ask everyone to do their part to end sexual violence- we ask why sexual assault occurs, and what behaviors we all can change to make a difference. We ask that everyone be an active bystander by standing up to bullying, aggression, street harassment, and sexism. Using evidence based, age-appropriate programming, we teach young people about healthy boundaries, being safe online, being a good friend & peer, and what to do if something happens and they need help. We teach young people about healthy communication and consent, how to critically analyze media sources that objectify women and men while simultaneously promoting violence as “sexy”, and how to recognize and combat gender stereotypes.

We are available to provide primary prevention presentations to schools, businesses, and communities. For a list of our presentations, please click here. We are also available to help schools, businesses, and communities create policies that promote respect and equality.

Primary prevention is about changing our social and cultural norms in order to create a safer, healthier world for all of us.

The public health model of prevention emphasizes decreasing risk factors and increasing protective factors across all ages. Healthy sexuality is another tool for the prevention of sexual violence and concepts related to healthy sexuality can play an important role in sexual violence prevention across the lifespan.  Click here to learn more.