An Aha! Moment

man with lighbulb on head

I believe we all have that moment – that point in our lives or our work where something just clicks.  An Aha! moment.  When it comes to prevention, I distinctly remember my Aha! moment.  After working for 7 years in direct services at rape crisis and domestic violence centers, I was burned out.  Honestly, I had stopped caring.  I just wanted out.   I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.   And then the opportunity I had been waiting for came along.   The chance to work at the national level.  Three days in to my new job at the NSVRC, I found myself on a plane, headed to California to meet our prevention partners PreventConnect, CDC, and VAWnet.  I was given some reading materials to prepare me for the meeting.  So, while on the plane, I delved into the Spectrum of Prevention and Sexual Violence Prevention: Beginning the Dialogue.  My mind was blown away.  All of the sudden, it just clicked for me.  The story of the fisherman going upstream, the ecological model, the root causes of violence…Aha!  Sexual violence is preventable!   I don’t think I really believed that to be true up until that point.  In the seven years I had been doing both prevention and intervention work, I don’t think I had ever been presented with the concept that sexual violence was truly preventable.  I remember turning to my co-worker and saying, “If I had known this when I was working at the local level, that there really could be an end to sexual violence, I might still be there doing the work.” 

Just having the hope that what you are doing is making a difference is so valuable.  That working to address the root causes of sexual violence is key to successful prevention work.  Being able to share that message is one of than many reasons I love my job.  I love sharing resources with local programs.  I love going to meetings and conferences, and having conversations with those on the ground doing prevention work in their communities.  To see them embracing the concept that sexual violence is preventable and they have a huge role to play in mobilizing their communities to challenge and change the norms that exist that allow violence to happen fills me with hope.   Of course there are struggles and challenges when doing the work, but to know that an end to sexual violence is possible makes the work a bit easier.

I’d love to hear about your Aha! prevention moment.  Please share it in the comment section below.


Submitted by lpalumbo on

I always thought that risk reduction was prevention, as this was what I'd learned in the few spaces where sexual violence was talked about in school, college, community, etc. Then I met folks who talked about social change as prevention. Not only did "prevention" click for me, but I also felt so empowered to have a role in this work! (Also, for the record, let me confirm that the preventionista does not look like that during her "Aha" moments. :)

Submitted by jgrove on

Thanks for sharing, Laura!  And you are are correct - I look much different! :)