Born an Engaged Bystander
This is a post script to our Letters to an Engaged Bystander Blog and a guest blog by Sally J. Laskey, NSVRC Director of Special Projects. To check out Joan Tabachnick's continued work follow her on twitter @engagebystander.
The NSVRC was honored to be part of the MVP Bystander Intervention Conference, Bystander Intervention: from it Roots to the Road Ahead in Boston, MA last month. David Lee, from CALCASA and Prevent Connect, did a wonderful recap of the conference.
When thinking about my roots, I recall my mother saying I was born with an "agenda", but really I was just raised to be an engaged citizen and to care about my community. The conference, organized by Mentors in Violence Preventin (MVP), felt like a coming home of sorts and reminded me that engaging bystanders in the prevention of sexual and intimate partner violence is really about building community.
I was lucky enough to start my social justice work while an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire. I was trained by Jane Stapleton about sexual violence prevention, who is now one of the Co-Directors at Prevention Innovations (that's her in the intro video clip), and I volunteered and then worked for the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP), where I was able to develop and implement bystander intervention programming, with folks like Duane de Four, who took the stage at the conference to talk about men and women working together. Jane and SHARPP invited me into a community of activists and I have never left.
As we pave the road ahead for engaging bystanders in prevention, the NSVRC is excited to provide resources and opportuntunities to grow this community and hopefully make it a group you will never want to leave. We particularly want to build the skills and support for bystanders online through social networking. As I witnessed first hand at the conference, we have powerful stories to share about successful bystander intervention experiences. Please add to our collection through the NSVRC Share your Stories Project! Here is your invitation, join us on this ride.