The Power of Prevention
Jan 24, 2023
Sexual Violence Prevention Collaborative Engages Youth through Sports
Many sexual violence programs focus on helping those who experience sexual violence trauma.
But imagine if instead of intervening to provide support after a person experiences sexual violence, we could prevent these horrific events from ever happening.
That’s the mission behind the Sexual Violence Prevention Collaborative (SVPC) — a powerful partnership between the Community Foundation, The Rowan Center, The Greenwich YWCA, The Center for Family Justice and The Triangle Community Center that is working to eliminate sexual violence in Fairfield County.
The Collaborative was organized by FCCF’s Fund for Women & Girls in 2018 and has provided ongoing support for the participating nonprofits.
“The only way we can lessen sexual violence is if we teach healthy boundaries in the first place,” said Sarah Malhotra, director of education and training of The Rowan Center in Stamford. “If we can teach people how not to do sexual violence, we’ll have a much healthier and happier community.”
To date, its work has centered on teaching prevention to young people in Fairfield County by partnering with important and trusted messengers: athletic coaches.
“If we can provide coaches with the resources and education on the important role they can play in preventing sexual violence and creating safe and inclusive spaces, it benefits every single person in that environment.”
Triangle Community Center
Coordinator of Community & Corporate Learning
“Sports teams are powerful places for building community and connection with each other,” said Cadence Pentheny, coordinator of community and corporate learning of The Triangle Community Center. “Coaches are viewed as very influential mentors by both athletes and parents. If we can provide coaches with the resources and education on the important role they can play in preventing sexual violence and creating safe and inclusive spaces, it benefits every single person in that environment.”
SVPC’s Coaches as Partners program has trained more than 260 Fairfield County coaches, players, parent volunteers and athletic directors on prevention of sexual violence and bystander intervention.
It uses an educational curriculum designed to engage and provide resources to local athletic directors, coaches and school administrators to support the significant role they can play in preventing sexual violence. The program focuses on character building and leadership, as well as teaching bystander intervention skills.
“Everyone knows someone who’s experienced sexual violence, even if no one has shared that with you,” said Rosie Enyart, violence prevention coordinator for YWCA Greenwich. “The issue is so important as it affects all of us. The SVPC has been and continues to be committed to creating a safe, healthy, pro-social and anti-violent community in Fairfield County.”
Explore More FWG Programs: FCCFoundation.org/FWG