Three leading national organizations have joined forces to establish a visible presence for sexual violence prevention. With multi-year funding from the National Football League (NFL), the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), PreventConnect/California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence have established an office in downtown Washington DC. In July, the collaborative announced its new name and tagline – Raliance: Ending Sexual Violence in One Generation. It conveys the conviction and urgency of the mission and the need to “rally” partners and “align” goals.
In July Raliance also announced its first round of grants with nearly $1.2 million being awarded to 27 programs across the country who are helping to advance Raliance goals in a variety of ways and settings. One thing that is unique about Raliance is that it marks the first time victim advocacy organizations have prioritized funding for projects specifically working to prevent perpetration. Raliance has established reducing the likelihood of perpetration of sexual violence as one of the top three priorities for its grant program. As staff at leading national organizations (NSVRC and PreventConnect/CALCASA) and as members of ATSA, we are excited to see ending perpetration as a key element of our ambitious, yet, important goal to end sexual violence in one generation.
The NFL became interested in learning more about domestic and sexual violence a few years ago as a result of some high profile incidents that attracted media attention. As an institution, they are certainly not alone in dealing with such behaviors; however they took a far different approach than most organizations. They invested considerable time, effort, and resources into learning about the issues and trying to figure out how to best use their influence to become part of the solution. They made internal changes in policies and practices, met with many experts from across the country, provided trainings and resources to staff, teams, and players, provided funding to the Domestic Violence Hotline, and provided start-up funding to Raliance to build capacity in the field for preventing sexual violence. This type of corporate responsibility and leadership is what is needed to change our culture. We invite other corporate partners to join our efforts.
ATSA has been at the forefront in collaborative work to bring victim advocates and sex offender treatment providers together to share their expertise in order to develop more comprehensive and effective responses to sexual violence when it occurs. Through extensive conversations (while exploring definitions, acronyms, and research findings) we have come to realize that we share the same goals – particularly around preventing first-time and subsequent acts of sexual abuse. Thus the ATSA prevention committee was created and continues to be a lively forum for exploring promising strategies. We are both active members of the ATSA prevention committee where committee members demonstrate that same passion for prevention and commitment to collaboration as Raliance.
Prevention advocates are pleased for the sustained national attention on the issue of sexual violence among young adults (such as college campuses, military, and NFL). The Raliance collaborative knows that in order to make lasting changes in this culture (sometimes referred to as “rape culture”), we must change the behavioral norms at much younger ages. By doing that, and aligning our collective goals and strategies, we know that we can continue the prevention momentum and, in fact, accelerate the positive changes.
In addition to awarding grants to build capacity in the field, Raliance has several other initiatives in the works including a report on the recent progress made to prevent sexual violence, mapping prevention assets in sports and athletics, a policy think tank, media training, and a youth leadership summit. For a complete list of current grantees visit http://www.raliance.org. Additional grants will be awarded annually, with the process opening in May or June and the projects beginning the following April.
Karen Baker, National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and David S. Lee, CALCASA-PreventConnect, members of the ATSA Prevention Committee