Moving Beyond Imagination E-News

Moving Beyond Imagination E-News

August 27, 2010
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In this issue:
1. A message from Patty Wetterling
2. New Action Teams are underway
3. What can one person do?
4. New group is studying ways to prevent teen dating violence

1. A message from Patty Wetterling

Issue #6: September 2010

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” Helen Keller

Greetings! Thank you for being part of the solution: preventing sexual violence in Minnesota!

When I started at MDH three years ago, many partners gathered for a statewide retreat to begin to create a prevention plan. We started with the theme “Imagine our lives without sexual violence.” I remember clearly that people were tired of talk: we want action! We have had many discussions and have engaged in many activities to honor that request. Moving Beyond Imagination was created to keep everyone updated on the progress of our strategic plan and share how we are moving forward!

Our state plan addresses preventing sexual violence throughout the lifespan. For two years, three action teams worked on issues that crossed all ages and populations. Their task was huge. Many people said of the problem, “It’s too big! Can you break it down into smaller pieces?” So our Leadership Team selected a theme for the next 18 months: a focus to make the work more “doable” and measurable and to help people stay engaged. The theme: Create a healthy, respectful environment in Minnesota that does not sexually exploit children.

Why children? Focusing on children will impact all ages directly or indirectly. For example, it was teenage girls who were abusing seniors in the Albert Lea nursing home. I would love to have seniors join us in “creating a healthy, respectful environment,” since they can have a substantial impact in the lives of our youth as well! All of our work is intertwined.

The new teams have met this summer, with new facilitators, many new members and renewed energy. They want your participation, in whatever way works for you. We are focusing on the top two levels of the Spectrum of Prevention – Influencing Policy and Legislation and Changing Organizational Practices – because they have impact for the greatest number of people.

These teams are just one area of the plan. Many partners continue to work to prevent all types of sexual violence in all populations in a variety of different ways. As more people are engaged, we can all incorporate the plan in our individual work and cover the state with all of our efforts. We ask all of you to read the plan again -- The Promise of Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence -- and be mindful of its six goals, or perhaps just select one of them and ask yourself:

  • What can I do to advance this right here, right now?
  • Who are the champions in my community whom I can engage in sexual violence prevention?
  • What are we doing already in my community that is helping to create a healthy, respectful environment that does not sexually exploit children?
  • What should we be doing, and who can get us there?

We invite you to share your work with us so that we can share with others.

Thank you for believing we can make a difference.

With hope,


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2. New Action Teams are underway

Four new Action Teams have been meeting, refining goals, and taking action. They all welcome new participants. You can participate in several ways: by attending meetings in person or by teleconference, by offering your expertise for a short-term task, by calling or e-mailing with your ideas, or by staying informed through e-mail. Sexual violence prevention is a huge task … you are needed!

For meeting dates, contact the staff member listed.

Healthy Environments in Schools Action Team

Co-Facilitators: Dani Lindner, Safe Avenues, Willmar; Barton Erickson, Cornerstone, Bloomington

Goals: Develop broad policy stating that anyone who works with children in schools must have training on sexual violence prevention. Study programs that are working. How are they evaluated and how can they be further disseminated?

For information or to join, contact Lindsay Gullingsrud, or Patty Wetterling,

Spiritual Communities Action Team

Co-Facilitators: Amy Hartman, Cherish Our Children, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America; Gabrielle Hamen,

Goals: Create a list of key prevention standards that all spiritual communities can incorporate to promote a respectful environment for children.

For information or to join, contact Amy Kenzie,

Data Resources Action Team

Co-Facilitators: Laura Williams, Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Jon Roesler, Minnesota Department of Health

Goals: Coordinate a symposium for researchers on sexual violence and create a series of data briefs to describe what is known and identify the gaps.

For information or to join, contact Laura Williams,

Media Action Team

Co-Facilitators: Ka Vue, Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota, and Roberta Gibbons, Metro State University

Goals: Free Minnesota from sexually exploitive advertising by strengthening relationships with media and by developing appropriate grassroots responses.

For information or to join, contact Evelyn Anderson,

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3. What can one person do?

Whether or not you are part of an Action Team, there are things we all can do right now to prevent sexual violence. Anyone can champion the cause whether…

  • A survivor of sexual violence
  • A high school or college student
  • A local, county, or state elected official
  • A teacher
  • A social worker
  • A health care professional
  • A faith community leader or lay leader
  • A disability advocate
  • Any interested person!

Here are a few things that one person or a small group can do that will make a difference:

  • Ask yourself:
    • What am I doing as an individual or professional to prevent sexual violence?
    • How can I use my sphere of influence in the business, government, faith, or education communities to prevent sexual violence?
  • Join existing prevention groups or coalitions
  • Speak to neighborhood or community groups or to schools
  • Write a letter to the editor
  • Invite speakers to a church group or professional in-service trainings
  • Learn what your organization and county are doing that promotes healthy relationships or prevents sexual violence. Report to decision-makers. Propose a resolution or prevention plan.
  • Collect county-wide data about the incidence and costs of sexual violence.
  • Advocate for support for public health family home visiting, which is effective in reaching people at risk for sexual violence.
  • For other ideas that relate to your interests, see A Place to Start: A Resource Kit for Preventing Sexual Violence.

Do you need help or resources to do any of these tasks? Contact Amy Kenzie,

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4. New group is studying ways to prevent teen dating violence

TDV youth leadership

Participants included, from left, Jeron and Tatiana of the youth leadership team from youthrive; Ann from 360 Communities; and Erin and Theresa from Sojourner

Thirty-two people who provide teen dating violence (TDV) prevention programs in the Twin Cities metropolitan area attended a “Meet and Greet” on August 12. The event was part of a CDC-funded program called the State Alliance on Healthy Youth Relationships. The Alliance, formed to look at teen dating violence prevention in Minnesota, is coordinated by MDH and the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (MCBW).

MDH and MCBW unveiled the results of an environmental scan of TDV programs in the area. Those who attended -- who represented community-based, public health and state organizations -- had provided information as part of the scan. Sixty percent of those surveyed said that teen dating violence prevention is already a priority in their organization. Some gaps emerged from the scan, including the need for more technical assistance for evaluating programs and the desire to increase capacity and develop more collaborations.

The next steps are a scan of policies that promote TDV prevention and a scan of program evaluations. Results from the three scans will be the basis of a plan for preventing teen dating violence prevention in the metropolitan area and, ultimately, statewide. For more information on the State Alliance or the metro-area environmental scan, see the MDH sexual violence prevention website,, or contact Evelyn Anderson,

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Moving Beyond Imagination E-News is brought to you by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) with support from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Contributed items are solely the responsibility of the contributors, and do not necessarily represent official views of, or endorsement by the MDH or the CDC.

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Sexual Violence Prevention Program
Injury and Violence Prevention Unit
Minnesota Department of Health
PO BOX 64882
ST PAUL MN 55164-0882
(651) 201-5484

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