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Read our latest newsletter: February 2017.

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"I spoke out to put a face to the issue for the millions of women, men and children who suffer in silence and to say that you are not alone. Help is available." ~ Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor (Photo by Christopher Mason)

Prevention & Social Change

JDI promotes focused, evidence-based efforts to address the root causes of violence against women, sexual and domestic violence, and stalking. JDI understands that without deliberate efforts to address the causes of this violence and abuse, we will not be able to stop it. Our key prevention initiatives aim to address the underlying social norms that foster and perpetuate violence, oppression, and inequality. At the same time, this work is driven by our commitment to promote safety, justice, and healing for survivors along with accountability for offenders.

What will prevent sexual and domestic violence?

Simply put, prevention aims to stop the problem before it occurs. It’s like the story of finding a child yelling for help in a river. Someone dives in and rescues the child. Before anyone can celebrate, everyone looks in horror as many more children float down the river screaming for help. Everyone becomes entirely and utterly exhausted trying to rescue the children one by one. Finally someone asks: where are these children coming from? Do we need to travel up the river — go upstream — and discover who or what is throwing children into the water and putting them at such great risk? Faced with these issues, the community’s response and responsibility is to simultaneously rescue those who are drowning and stop the source of the problem.

Here is our challenge: what lies upstream in the story of sexual and domestic violence? What are the causes behind these assaults, violence and deaths? And what will be effective measures to prevent these causes from taking root in our society?

JDI believes that the answers to these questions can be found through a human rights and gender analysis of sexual and domestic violence. This analysis demonstrates that the primary cause of sexual and domestic violence is the deeply embedded social norm that values power over another rather than equality and human rights. This analysis also requires us to look to the margins to identify victims, members, advocates communities and populations that may be under-represented, overlooked, disenfranchised, or otherwise made invisible. It means that we take an expansive view of violence, from physical and sexual to economic and political.

How is JDI engaged in prevention efforts?

As the statewide coalition, JDI is well suited to focus beyond preventing individual incidents of violence toward broader based efforts that tackle these fundamental issues. Our prevention efforts are grounded in evidence-based efforts to create a world without gender inequity on personal, community, institutional, and societal levels.

JDI’s current mobilization and community education prevention efforts:

  • Member Support: provide opportunities for members to learn from one another, to develop skills, and to build community and foster collaboration in their local communities.
  • Men’s Engagement: promote the role for men and boys in ending violence, abuse and oppression; support and organize men’s projects to end violence through partnership with JDI and our members.
  • Massachusetts White Ribbon Day: promote positive masculinity where respect and gender equality replace violence and abuse of power as the social norm among men and boys.
  • Engaging Responsible Fatherhood: focus on prevention of first time perpetration of sexual assault by teenage boys by recognizing the unique position of fathers to teach male sexual respect and consent to their children.
  • Awareness Campaigns, Communications, and Media: aim to shift attitudes that perpetuate sexual and domestic violence and other forms of systematic oppression of women and girls and other marginalized communities that violate their humanity and human rights.

Want to learn more about prevention? 

Several frameworks have been developed to help us think about prevention. JDI draws upon three different models: The Public Health Model, The Socio-Ecological Model, and the Spectrum of Prevention.

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