Beyond the Breakthrough: What it Will Take to End Sexual Violence in one Generation

The theme of the 2019 National Sexual Assault Conference—Beyond the Breakthrough—sought to inspire the collective movement to end sexual violence and build on the momentum of the #MeToo movement. Ms. was the media sponsor for the conference—and expanded the discussions happening on-site with this dedicated series. Click here to read more posts. You can also watch interviews and conference sessions from #NSAC2019 on the Ms. Facebook!

The #MeToo movement ushered in a cultural reckoning that calls for solutions to the wide-spread problem of sexual violence. We cannot forget the revelations that #MeToo has taught us, and we must channel these lessons to enact culture changes in behavior and attitudes that will ultimately prevent sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse from occurring in the first place. 

At the 2019 National Sexual Assault Conference, RALIANCE is sponsoring a track of sessions designed to spotlight examples of concrete and effective prevention actions and activities. As we consider the conference theme—Beyond the Breakthrough—we understand that there are many innovations and pivots that will propel the change needed to create safer, healthier communities and workplaces. 

Here are a few highlights from those workshops.

We’re excited to feature the collaborative work of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Urban Institute and Uber Technologies in “Safety in Numbers,” highlighting the amazing results achieved when advocates, researchers and corporations work together. This synergic effort developed a taxonomy for customers’ reports of sexual violence and will present on lessons learned and ways this could support industries beyond ride-sharing. 

RALIANCE has also been championing work to incorporate sports into the solution to ending sexual violence. In “Partners in Prevention Teaming up to Train Soccer Coaches Nationwide,” our impact grantee Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault will talk about their work to train soccer coaches nationwide. 

Another impact grantee, IMPACT Boston, will lead a discussion of ableism in athletics and prevention within the world of adaptive sport in “Understanding Abelism in Athletics and Sexual Violence Prevention Efforts in Sport.” Building robust and innovative community partnerships is essential to prevention, and RALIANCE is excited to share the efforts of our grantees.

As experiences at school shape what young people understand about responsible behavior, prevention programming must begin at an early age. In a session called “Responsible Behavior with Younger Children: A School-Based Prevention Intervention,” impact grantees from Johns Hopkins University will share their project equipping middle school students and their caregivers with knowledge, skills and tools to avoid sexual behavior with younger children.

RALIANCE will feature the prosecutorial team responsible for the first high-profile case of the #MeToo movement in a session called “Bringing Cosby to Justice,” and will share the most significant decisions made during the two trials and scores of motions which composed the Cosby case. The insights of these three prosecutors will educate attendees on an important early moment in the #MeToo era.

Too often, policymakers want to respond to sexual assault, but “feel good” legislation isn’t necessarily effective to helping survivors and preventing sexual violence. One session called “Federal and State Policy Responses to Sexual Assault: Beyond the Breakthrough” will specifically focus on federal and state policy responses to sexual assault.  

Creating inclusive, multi-intersectional policy starts by listening to survivors—and in “Creating Multi-Intersectional Child Sex Abuse Policy,” members of the RALIANCE Policy Advisory Committee will share what changes to current and future policy are necessary to properly support survivors and prevent child sexual abuse.

Sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse are challenging topics to communicate, and it can be difficult to help the public understand how we prevent these issues. That’s why RALIANCE is promoting prevention through strategic communication in a workshop aimed at making messages more accessible to greater audiences called “Focus, Framing & Facts.”

With over 20 issue-focused tracks, early 150 workshops and 250 speakers, NSAC will be a powerful site for conversations about sexual violence driving real change in communities.


Julie Patrick is the National Partners Liaison for RALIANCE and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Her work focuses on changing the conversation about sexual violence through efforts with the news media as well as advocates, allies and survivors. Prior to RALIANCE, Julie served for over a decade as the Senior Special Projects Coordinator with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, VA and managed the National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation.