Sexual assault is in headlines across the country. We have the chance to talk to more people about sexual assault, remind our communities about the importance of believing survivors who have the courage to come forward, and shine light on the crucial work of local programs.
Our national discussion reminds us that it is crucial to include men and boys in our prevention efforts. In this issue’s Prevention Corner article, we discuss the importance of understanding what toxic masculinity looks like in our society and how it is important to address it in our work to prevent sexual violence. Oftentimes, our prevention work is focused on the individual and changing their knowledge, attitude, and behavior surrounding topics related to sexual assault prevention. College campuses provide a forum to help promote change. In our College Consortium article entitled ‘Utilizing a Social Norms Approach for Sexual Assault Prevention’, we place special focus on shifting our prevention efforts on college campuses to address larger, community-wide change and how a social norms approach is one way to do this. In this issue, we have included a special guest post from 16-year old Samantha Paradise, who wrote a powerful slam poem about no longer staying silent about sexual assault. This inspiring piece reminds us to speak up against sexual assault and continue our work to prevent it.
This issue also provides information for professionals in the field. Many of the laws MCASA supported during the last legislative session went into effect October 1st, 2016. This issue of Frontline, includes highlights of some of these new laws. This fall MCASA hosted the Neurobiology of Trauma Training with Dr. Jim Hopper. More information on this important topic is included in this issue. Our Program Spotlight this quarter highlights the work done at YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County and their wonderful programs and services to support survivors of sexual assault. Learning about one another’s work helps share ideas and best practices.
MCASA is looking forward to a busy fall and preparing for the upcoming legislative session. Our preliminary legislative agenda is attached, but sure to grow in the coming months. We also also provide a glimpse of the upcoming MCASA Women of Color Network Conference: Through a Different Lens: A Focus on Special Populations, in November 2016 and hope many of you will join us.
As always, we thank you for your continued support, your work, and your willingness to remain feisty and push policy forward. Together we will end sexual violence.
Lisae Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director and Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault