The final theme built on the concept of Integrated Leadership: “Leadership that promotes innovative, responsible, and effective solutions to cross-sector challenges locally, nationally, and globally,” according to the Center for Integrative Leadership at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs. Leaders were encouraged to contribute ideas for sexual violence prevention actions in their sphere of influence, as well as to “think big” in imagining strategies based on the ideas presented at The Summit.
“Put on Your Climbing Shoes”
Heatherlyn, singer/songwriter with youthrive: LIVE!, performed an original song to get the room moving for this final session. She also talked from the heart about her connection to sexual violence prevention as the daughter of a rape survivor.
Thank you for paying attention, thank you for asking questions, and for making choices that can change lives and even save lives. I say thank you as the daughter of a woman who I believe is very strong, and very beautiful and very gifted. And yet throughout my childhood, I saw her live very small, and very closed, and very afraid.
Integrated Leadership Panel Discussion
Leaders from government, media, faith, and industry spoke about aspects of sexual violence prevention specific to their organization and field. The panel was followed by a question and answer session. Presentations represent the thoughts and opinions of the individual presenters.
Representative Erin Murphy, co-convener of the Legislative Caucus to Stop Sexual Violence in the Minnesota Legislature, spoke of her interest in working on health issues, including the prevention of sexual violence. She spoke about the challenges of working for comprehensive sex education and sexual violence prevention on a policy level. “If we would invest more in prevention, we would save the state a lot of money.” (For more about the Legislative Caucus, see Outcomes in this report.)
Jane Kirtley, Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota, addressed aspects of First Amendment protection for communications that fall short of hate speech. “The best cure for bad speech is more speech. We are not a society that controls behavior by suppressing speech.” She addressed the notion that silence in and of itself is an impediment to sexual violence prevention. Media, particularly the Internet, can be seen as a tool to send messages that support prevention to “the four corners of the world.”
Mary A. Ackerman, Director of External Relations, Special Assistant to the President, Search Institute, spoke of the responsibility of adults for helping young people grow into healthy, respectful human beings. “If you breathe,” she said, “you’re on the team. Relationships are how human development happens.” Ackerman referenced research on thriving and offered a perspective on the difficulties and importance of generational conversations, as well as the role of the faith community in facilitating the relationships that help young people to thrive.
Jeanne Martin, Director of the Victim Services Program of Dodge, Fillmore, and Olmstead counties, spoke of how communities can work on a local level to initiate sexual violence policies and practices. Martin is based out of Rochester, MN where several hundred acts of sexual violence become visible every year. Faced with the limitations of the criminal justice system to prevent sexual violence and no state funding for prevention, her organization has worked to mobilize community leaders and found a community willing and able to take action. “Don’t hesitate to provoke the change you want.”
Lowell Pickett, co-owner and founder of the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, discussed ways for a business owner to respond to incidents of sexual harassment or assault for both legal and ethical reasons. He advocated for clear policies, available in all languages, and for combating the “culture of silence” that can overpower any policy. “You are moving the general awareness forward – and the culture keeps presenting new challenges…. The fashion industry makes objectification seem OK or part of the culture…It’s easy to think it’s OK in our industry; we’re looser, more social. We’re saying NO, it’s not OK. It shouldn’t be OK anywhere.”
Summit Participants Respond
Frank White, founder of RespectSports expanded his work with boys in athletics to include messages of respect for women. He participated in Coaching Boys to Men a program for coaches organized by Donna McDonald, Violence Prevention Coordinator, Alliance for a Violence Free Anoka County.
David McCullum, chair of the Board of Directors of the Academy on Violence and Abuse, discussed an initiative at the Waconia Medical Center to effectively establish an abuse-free workplace.
Becky Ross, Fox Sports North, described a public service announcement featuring Minnesota Twins pitcher Scott Baker which she produced as part of a sexual violence prevention effort.
Bobbi Cordano, Allina Center for Healthcare Innovation, invited a collaborative effort in health care. A response from Patty Wetterling, Minnesota Department of Health, endorsed follow-up actions after the Summit.
Bobbi Cordano: There’s a huge amount of consensus in this room – the kind of collaboration that could make a Community Health Initiative possible. It’s a public health issue, and as a health care provider we recognize the huge costs. I would invite a conversation after the Summit is over.
Patty Wetterling: We would love sexual violence prevention to be part of the health care discussion, and I salute you for offering that…