Have I Got a Story For You
How can stories help us in our mission to end sexual violence?
According to Andy Goodman, nationally recognized author, speaker and consultant in the field of public interest communications, storytelling remains the single most powerful communication tool you possess.
A few weeks ago, I attended the 2012 Joint Annual Meeting of the Safe States Alliance and CDC Core Violence & Injury Prevention Program in Atlanta, GA. Andy was giving the keynote address, and I must admit that I was skeptical. I was thinking about recent data that shows that, depending on the context, stories of sexual violence can sometimes derail our prevention message. I just wasn’t sure how we could reframe stories in ways that would be beneficial. I was quickly immersed in a fascinating presentation that demonstrated the powerful use of stories, and was reminded of the ways that stories help us educate, persuade, and really connect with people. I found this quote to be especially memorable, “Numbers numb, jargon jars, and nobody ever marched on Washington because of a pie chart.” There are ways we can get our message out there and advance our mission without turning people off at the get-go.
It made me think of one way that we are capturing our prevention work, and that is through the collection of bystander stories. Stories of how everyday people notice events or behaviors and intervene in some way to stop that behavior serve as inspiration and motivation for others. This week in Boston, people are gathering together at the MVP’s Bystander Intervention Conference to discuss the roots of - and next steps for - the bystander approach to gender violence prevention. Even if you can’t make it to Boston, you can still be involved in this important work. The NSVRC has been capturing and sharing the many ways that people have stepped in to end sexual violence. You can read stories from engaged bystanders, and submit your own story. We would love to hear from you!