Post Content

Marci DiamondPosted by Marci Diamond, Director of the DPH Sexual Assault Prevention and Survivor Services Unit.
 

Sexual violence is everyone’s issue: in fact, a new national study found that one in three women and one in five men in Massachusetts have experienced sexual violence, typically starting at a young age.

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and as the DPH Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Survivor Services Unit, I am honored to serve this year as Advisory Council Chair for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC). NSVRC serves as a coordinating and resource organization for SAAM, and has designated this year’s SAAM theme as "Healthy Sexuality".

This theme connects with conversations we’ve long had at DPH about healthy sexuality, and its connection to preventing sexual violence and other health concerns. Several years ago, staff from DPH programs such as violence prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, and HIV prevention came together with the understanding that that our work would be more effective in all of these areas if we could find common ground and coordinate efforts in what we were all trying to promote as a vision of wellness. DPH now has a cross-Department Healthy Sexuality/Healthy Relationships workgroup to coordinate the promotion of positive sexual development across the lifespan, in order to improve the health, safety, and well-being of MA residents. The MA Sexual Violence Prevention Plan further reinforces these connections, and supports our community partners who work across MA to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

As Gov. Patrick put it: "Massachusetts has a plan…to keep children from developing problem sexual behaviors, help parents and educators teach children that sexual respect is expected, and assist adults in changing the climates in our diverse communities and institutions so that healthy relationships between all people can be the state norm…not only to improve our response to incidents…but also toward shaping a safer, healthier future".

Here at DPH we are observing SAAM in several ways, including a program on April 9 at 12 noon in the DPH Public Health Council Room at 250 Washington Street, Boston. Building off the NSVRC dcoument "It’s Time…to talk with your children about healthy sexuality", several of our partners in child sexual abuse prevention will share their collaborative efforts to fulfill the vision for a safer, healthier future described by Gov. Patrick.

Speakers will include Joan Tabachnick of MASOC  and NEARI , Melissa Gopnick of BARCC ,Tom King of the MA Children’s Alliance  and Amy Waldman of DPH’s Rural Sexual/Domestic Violence Project. Room capacity is limited, so please RSVP to susan.blampied@state.ma.us by April 3 if you plan to attend.

We invite you to join the dialogue throughout the year. You can find lots of resources at NSVRC  and at your local DPH-supported Rape Crisis Center  or Child Advocacy Center. It may be challenging to start, but we CAN talk about –and practice – appropriate boundaries, sexual respect, and healthy, nurturing, equitable relationships.  By starting the conversation early and often, we can all help to build safe, healthy relationships and communities.

 

Written By:


health communication writer and editor

Recent Posts

Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) & Climate Change posted on Jun 23

The Environmental Toxicology Program in the Bureau of Environmental Health has developed a climate assessment approach that leverages the combined resources of the Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) tool and the CDC Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework. The approach actively engages stakeholders   …Continue Reading Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) & Climate Change

Love in Action: Supporting One Another in Challenging Times posted on Jun 15

Love in Action: Supporting One Another in Challenging Times

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr. What do we do when horrible things happen? A tragedy like what happened at Orlando’s LGBTQ Pulse nightclub is so   …Continue Reading Love in Action: Supporting One Another in Challenging Times

Getting Hurt is Not in Your Job Description posted on Jun 13

Getting Hurt is Not in Your Job Description

POP QUIZ: Deli slicers – How hard can they be to use? Everyone seems to have story about someone being cut at work while using a deli slicer*. If you don’t have one yourself, ask a friend or colleague—they almost certainly do. And more often   …Continue Reading Getting Hurt is Not in Your Job Description