Preventing sexual violence in the Upper Peninsula

HOUGHTON — April is Sexual Violence Prevention Month. ABC 10’s Keweenaw Bureau Reporter Rick Allen has this story on proactive steps being taken by Michigan Tech.

A lot of attention is given to aiding victims of sexual violence. But what if it could be stopped long before it ever happened? That was the focus of a workshop held at Michigan Tech.

Senior Program Director for the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence Lisa Winchell–Caldwell said, “We wanted to move on the existing work that Michigan Tech and the community partners and surrounding colleges are already doing. They’ve done really incredible work around preventing and responding to sexual violence and domestic violence in campus environments and in the community, and our goal is to help them organize and do that further and have a greater impact.”

Much of the discussion looked at ways to change accepted social norms that contribute to the cause of sexual violence, rather than simply punishing offenders after the incident.

It’s a big change, but that’s why this workshop was designed for those in the community with the means to make it. Winchell–Caldwell said, “It’s less frightening and less intimidating to talk about something that people can be actionable on and feel good about, like they’re supporting and making their community safer and healthier in a really meaningful way, rather than going around and telling a bunch of people not to do something they pretty much already know not to do.”

Funding for the workshop was provided by the State of Michigan/Michigan Department of State Police Grants and Community Services Department Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program.