It’s All Connected
“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: You haven’t.” – Thomas Edison
onnection is a vital component of prevention work – connection with one another, our trainees, and our personal journeys. To sustain myself in this work, I consistently seek, welcome, and create space to reflect on how I have arrived at this work both personally and professionally. It is both immensely challenging and fulfilling. If you haven’t done so in a while, I’d encourage you to reflect on yours.
Most recently, when considering my introduction to the field of power-based personal violence, I recalled my dedication to solely addressing and preventing dating and domestic violence. Over the course of time – and by obtaining new information – I recognized the intimate link between all forms of power-based violence and my work intentionally began to also include sexual assault and stalking and later yet, called into relation all forms of privilege and oppression. If we do our work in the most effective manner, our paths continue to discover new connections within and between our work.
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report, “Connecting the Dots: An Overview of the Links Among Multiple Forms of Violence.” This publication summarizes research on a host of different types of violence outlining risk and protective factors on multiple levels – individual, relationship and community.
Clearly and succinctly, the CDC establishes:
- a clear connection between various forms of violence and
- an overlap within prevention opportunities.
I (re-)approached the article with the intention of exploring risk and protective factors in relation to my current professional violence prevention work. However, I was jolted into the truth of connection amidst prevention fields. The CDC calls preventionists forward to support one another’s work and collaborate wherever possible. Each of our field’s unique approaches to address one form of violence, such as reducing risk factors and bolstering protective factors, also reduces other forms of violence. The CDC states, “Effective prevention efforts address common risk and protective factors, reduce overall violence, and improve outcomes.” Silos aren’t the answer.
I worked in higher education for quite some time; I know this field, like many others, has a tendency to operate in silos. My points of greatest pride and progress center around collaboration with colleagues from different departments and divisions. I have lived the truth the CDC affirms in its research summary.
While there are a few evidence-based violence prevention strategies out there, we continue to have more work to generate, more progress to cultivate. Sometimes I wonder what else there could be? However, the CDC’s publication grounded me once more. By breaking outside of our silos we can both better understand our field’s progress and discover new roots for further success.
Today, I remember, we have not exhausted all possibilities.
Wilkins, N., Tsao, B., Hertz, M., Davis, R., Klevens, J. (2014). Connecting the Dots: An Overview of the Links Among Multiple Forms of Violence. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Oakland, CA: Prevention Institute.