Friday, December 9, 2016

A milestone: Our 200th blog posting

Let me first say that I am extremely honored to be making this 200th post to the site.

In the fall of 2010, I was approached by then-editor James Cantor of Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment. In tandem with Sage, the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers was establishing a blog site and I was asked to be the inaugural blogger, as it were. I was all too happy to accept.

The original intent of the blog was to highlight and discuss findings in the published research – as a way to bring the science to the masses. However, it was not long before the perspectives reflected in posts transcended this initial focus. Indeed, became a place where applied issues could be raised and, to some extent, debated. Although generally in response to or highlighting of research findings, the blog became less about hardcore research and more about what we should do about research, or where more research was necessary.

I received my initial training in this field as a researcher and, somewhat romantically, I still consider myself to be a researcher – even though the nature of my work has become progressively more applied as the years have gone by. As the nature of my work changed, so did the degree of attention I could pay to the blog, as well as the topics I thought I could responsibly handle. This led to the invitation of two associate bloggers: David Prescott – with his keen understanding of the application of research to practice, and Jon Brandt – who has consistently demonstrated a unique talent for highlighting the intersections between research, practice and, most importantly, policy.

With the addition of these two key contributors, the breadth of topics the blog could tackle increased considerably. Further, the periodic invitation of guest bloggers contributed to even greater breadth of perspective. During my tenure, I was privileged to contribute to or sponsor posts addressing controversies in diagnostics, best practices in working with juveniles who sexually offend, and hard-hitting examinations of social policy in sexual violence prevention. I believed that we were making real contributions to these important discussions. However, my professional practice continued to change – the unfortunate consequence being that I could no longer retain my role as the Chief Blogger. Enter Kieran McCartan...

I first met Dr. McCartan when he was a first time ATSA presenter at the Atlanta conference. Dressed in a light blue suit, sporting a heavy metal-esque beard, and speaking in a thick Irish brogue, he immediately impressed me with his discussions of the impact of media and public perceptions in sexual violence prevention. He was clearly the best candidate to succeed me as Chief Blogger. This was recently revalidated in his appointment to Associate Editor for Social Media for our parent journal SAJRT.

Over the past couple of years that Kieran has headed the blog, in collaboration with David and Jon, posts have been regular and consistently of high quality. Indeed, many of the most thoughtful and hard-hitting perspectives in our field have been reflected in posts. I am proud to have gotten the ball rolling, but these three fellows have done a much better job than I ever could have in fulfilling the promise of this blog site.

And, it is on that note that I commend Kieran, David, and Jon on their continued high quality product. I am a strong believer in knowledge transfer and I am frequently reminded by my children that there are other ways to learn things than by reading books and journals. Even an old guy like me has had to concede that social media plays an increasingly important role in our quest for true sexual violence prevention.

Going forward, the challenges we face as a field are ensuring true adherence to evidence in establishing practice guidelines, getting further upstream in our prevention efforts, and inviting greater participation by ordinary citizens in the community safety endeavor. Here’s to another 200 posts!!

Dr. Robin J. Wilson, ABPP

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