Preventionista Travel Log: Washington State
One of the best things about my job is that I get to travel to the various regions of this lovely nation and see what the different states and territories are doing when it comes to the prevention of sexual violence. There are so many interesting things happening out there! I am constantly amazed at the creativity and resourcefulness of local preventionists.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP) annual conference in Vancouver, WA. I was there to deliver a workshop on the messaging project collaboration between NSVRC and Framework’s Institute. But more importantly, I was there to connect with the folks who are in the trenches every day. This is where I get my inspiration.
I always know I am at a great conference when I can’t decide which workshops to attend. The selections were amazing! I decided to split my time by attending both prevention-focused and intervention-related workshops, and I’m so glad I chose that strategy. I learned about the important role that judges have inside and outside of the courtroom, how programs can build and sustain high quality sexual assault services in dual and multiservice agencies, the power of social media to further our social change efforts, and the importance of expanding our lens and looking at industries beyond entertainment that profit from rape culture. In each of these workshops, I heard story after story of how local programs are using new and creative ways to prevent sexual violence despite funding and staffing cuts. It never ceases to amaze me how dedicated these individuals are.
The keynote presenter, Dr. Raymond Reyes, provided an inspiring message about the importance of self-care as we move through this work and the importance of bringing our whole selves into our work – not just physically showing up, but bringing our heart, mind and souls to the work as well. And the preventionists and advocates who I had the pleasure of speaking with at this conference are certainly doing that. I left feeling very encouraged by what I saw and heard in Washington.
And along those lines about self-care…one thing I always try to do when I travel is get outside of the hotel and take in the sights. And the sights in the Pacific Northwest are spectacular. I was all the more amazed at the excellent work being done, because if I was surrounded by this beauty every day I’m not sure I would be able to get anything accomplished!
Special thanks to the great folks at WCSAP and all the local advocates who inspired me last week! Be sure to check out the fabulous resources on the coalition’s website!