Preventing Violence with Youth Health Technology

Closing Plenary

What is “violence” and how do we stop it? As a society, we often answer that question with the obvious: war is violent; we try diplomacy and economic sanctions. Football is violent; we give the players helmets and padding. Sexual assault, verbal assault, harassment, intimate partner violence, and other forms of sexual aggression and abuse are violent, and we often help much less than we should.

But that is starting to change. Many organizations and activists are doing incredible work in the field of violence prevention and advocacy, by harnessing the power of mobile and digital technology to organize their communities around this important issue. The #BringBackOurGirls and #YesAllWomen campaigns are examples of how the technology is changing the way that we react to violence. Social media and tech have the power to rally hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people to take action and unite around a cause.

YTH Live 2014 featured the session Violence Prevention: Engaging Youth in Digital Conversations, which highlighted various violence prevention initiatives and lessons learned. In Harnessing the Power of Social Media to Stop Teen Dating Violence, representatives of Futures Without Violence explained That’s Not Cool, a website and online forum around digital harassment prevention.

On Sex and GenderAlia Roth, a recent graduate from Connecticut College and producer of the 2014 Connecticut College Vagina Monologue, engaged male youth in a quest to spark conversations around rape culture, consent, power-based personal violence, sexual expression, gender equality and women’s rights in Engaging Youth in Digital Conversations. In addition to her YTH Live presentation, she helped develop On Sex and Gender, a Tumblr campaign against microaggressions.

YTH Live concluded with The Future of Online Feminism closing plenary. A panel of feminist leaders explained the connections between the online tools and feminism, which encompasses gender equality and violence prevention among other equity issues.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, with events throughout such as National Youth Violence Prevention Week and Denim Day, but violence is an ongoing issue among youth and adults alike, so violence prevention discussions and efforts must extend beyond April as well. Keep up the momentum by checking out YTH Youth Advisory Board member Erin McKelle’s interview with Emily May of Hollaback to learn more about her work ending street harassment. Share YOUR violence prevention efforts with us via Facebook, Twitter, or even become a guest blogger! Together, we can leverage technology and online platforms and organize our communities to put an end to violence.

Images by Stephen Texeira Photography and  http://yoursexandgender.tumblr.com/.


tags: , , , , , , , .