Posted by: joshjasper | April 6, 2009


I recently was asked to be a part of Iowa’s Sexual Violence Prevention Planning Committee, consisting of a partnership with the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Iowa Department of Public Health.  In short, the group has been tasked with creating a strategic plan for sexual assault prevention throughout the state of Iowa.  During a  meeting in Des Moines this past week, the discussion focused on sustainability of prevention efforts.  One member of the group made a point that I found to be very true and crucial for success in our prevention work.

Too often, communities become dependent on one particular agency or even one  individual to provide all of the violence prevention work for the entire community.  This method is flawed on many levels.  Imagine the enormous strain that this individual or organization would feel knowing that all of the responsibility falls directly on their shoulders and the burden is not shared with others.  It would stand to reason that the strain would eventually result in burn out.  All would rely on the well to satisfy their thirsty needs only to find one day that the well had run dry.

And then what?  After that one person or organization had been worked to death, there would be no one else to carry out this important effort; an effort that may take many lifetimes to realize.

In order to truly sustain violence prevention efforts, we can no longer rely on a statewide initiative composed of individuals from universities, rape crisis centers, and other like minded organizations to do the work for us.  Riverview Center surely cannot realize our vision of a community free of sexual violence without the involvement of the community.  “Josh Jasper’s Blog” is not going to do it by itself.

What we need is clear.  We need a revolution!  A revolution defined as a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that take place in a short period of time.  A social revolution that would transform our society as we know it, shifting the power and making all things equal.

Join the revolution of violence prevention.  We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.



  1. I’m in for a revolution, but is there any other word we could use that doesn’t sound violent?

    How about a “peace corps brigade” (several of them actually) who would be among the first to arrive at a crime scene involving violence? (just some brainstorms here).

    How about those brigades also award “heroes” to the cause of a violence free community? Maybe periodical contests that award great prizes or money for someone who chose nonviolence when others might typically respond violently. Or those who confront or become an active bystander when witnessing bullying, abuse or other violent behavior.

    How about prerecorded tape or video that would air immediately following an act of violence. Just one example: In the newspaper after reporting about a domestic violence arrest or encounter, remind all readers that NOTE: Reminder that Violence of any kind is unacceptable and not tolerated in our community.

    Or, when CSI or similar show airs, have a rolling screen at the bottom that says. “do not try this in our community” or “at home”. or “murder is not an approved way to resolve problems in Dubuque, IA.”

    (Yes kind of corny maybe, but still a message.

    Or on the weather channel when there are reports of lightning or tornadoes: “In our community, Only Mother Nature is allowed to be violent sometimes. All other mothers, fathers and adults are prohibited from engaging in violence, including, but not limited to, lightning strikes and earthquakes.

    Perhaps we could record a takeoff on the TV program that shows stupid criminals and comedians responses to them. We could find examples of violence from news or other programming, or personal camera, and offer our own funny critique.

    Just some thoughts in the wee hours …..

    Fortune cookies that provide not just a fortune but instead lead someone on a scavenger hunt to eventually witness a potentially violent situation (sports teams?) and provide them with a variety of effective responses.

    Do Paul Harvey type recordings to tell “the rest of the story, where the rest of the story is a “what if” or “if only”
    alternate ending – a la It’s a Wonderful Life. Stories could take happy endings and demonstrate how they might have gone differently with violence. Or unhappy/tragic endings that could have been prevented…”if only”

    OK, I think I am getting way out there, so I will go to sleep now!

  2. I would love to help any way I can. However to part of mats coment, I don’t think putting a scroll on TV that says “DONT TRY THIS IN OUR COMMUNITY” is going to do much. Psychologicaly speaking if we tell someone not to do something they usually will do it anyway out of rebelion.
    I think there needs to be a seminar of some sort that the entire community can attend, in order to educate everone about sexual violence. Maybe have victims come speak out if they can, and have others from hospitals, dhs, anywere come and speak about it and how it affects our community. And how stoping it will make our community a better place. Thanks for what your doing!

  3. Matt-As always, great ideas. Your creativity motivates me and others.

    I agree Tessie-We do need to have REGULAR seminars for our community about violence prevention. If you have the opportunity, we are hosting a violence prevention seminar based on the effects of pornography and how it is connected to violence against women on April 23rd at the Grand River Center. It’s going to be a great training and we are hoping for a big crowd.

  4. I would be very interested in attending. I will pass the information on to my Human Services instructor and see if we can’t get some other people in our program to attend. What time does it start?

  5. Tessie-

    I just sent you the specifics of the training via your e-mail with a flyer attached. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Hope to see you there!

  6. Thankyou Josh. I recieved your email, and I will definatly be attending. I will post the flyer in our class room tomorrow.

  7. Tessie

    Awesome! Thank you so much for helping spread the word. I want as many people possible to attend this important training.

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