December 22, 2017
Dear Prevention Partners
As we close out 2017, we’re compelled to call out the shift we witnessed in conversations this year to help keep both children and adults safe in the future from any type of sexual violence. These are undoubtedly some of the most charged and emotional conversations to be had. This year saw more need than ever for us all to speak up, as conversations about the sexual safety of children and women, and yes, men too, happened in almost every arena. We talked about the sexual abuse of our young athletes, and our worries and obligations for young people on our campuses. We talked about workplaces that could be dangerous, and we talked about places of worship that were unsafe. And we’ve talked about sexual violence in our entertainment industry and with our politicians.
The shift is visible in how we've begun to explore and expose not only the roots of prevention, but also pathways for accountability. As the director here at Stop It Now!, I want to share that when I first learned of the work of Now! almost 20 years ago, I was moved by the presentation of what I saw then as a holistic model of response to tragic and harmful behavior. Back then, being a very interpersonal relational-based therapist, I didn’t know much about public health models or even socioeconomic models of framing and understanding, but I knew that mostly people hurt people when they themselves are hurting – and can’t find help. I loved then, and continue to love now, that the Now! model focuses on protecting children by reaching out to anyone who can prevent abuse – including the abusers themselves – with compassion and with a call for accountability.
Prevention needs to be rooted in compassion. Compassion allows us to listen to each other, and to begin to understand why people hurt each other. We need that understanding in order to fully work together to not just respond to sexual harm with an eye to restoring families and communities, but to prevent harm from happening in the first place. How do we help anyone who could be at-risk of hurting someone to
not do so? Isn’t that what we want in the first place? When I came to work for Stop It Now!, I moved from working with those impacted by sexual harm to investing myself in ways to stop abuse from ever happening. I learned that in order to help keep children safe, the very adults who are at-risk to hurt children must have a place to reach out for help, and be supported to take responsibility for what they’ve done.
Our founder, Fran Henry, continues to inspire me and all of Stop It Now! with her compassion. As a survivor, her voice of balance and reason continues to shape the vision of hope and inclusion held by all of us at Now!. She recently shared her experience and thoughts about prevention and compassion, noting, “If we all could stop long enough to hold people accountable but look with the lens of compassion at what causes their behavior, we would find the keys to preventing this scourge.” (
Read her op-ed here
Here at Stop It Now!, we learn from the writings and teachings of survivors and experts alike, who remind us to address sexual abuse through eyes that are compassionate and informed. We invite all of you to join us in 2018 with conversations that are based in compassion and with the curiosity to learn more.
For more inspiring conversations, see:
This conversation won’t end with 2017. This is not just our hope, but our intention and commitment. Thank you for being a part of the shift to prevention.
Stop It Now! Director