Overview

The Minnesota Summit was the first event of its kind in the nation. A one-day think tank to support Minnesota’s Sexual Violence Prevention Plan, it brought together more than 200 invited leaders from government, industry, academia, media, philanthropy, and faith, along with nonprofit issue experts. Our goals were to:

  • Engage new Prevention Champions.
  • Identify policy and organizational practices that support prevention.
  • Share data to inform effective Sexual Violence Prevention practices.
  • Make the case that Sexual Violence Prevention is everyone’s business.
  • Test the model of the Summit as a strategy that other communities, states and the nation could use to advance prevention.

Speakers, performances, and videos provoked discussion around three themes:

Audience response technology captured the ideas, action plans and questions of the participants, which are synthesized in this multi-media e-report.

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Why a Sexual Violence Prevention Summit for Minnesota?

Sexual violence is perhaps the most misunderstood public health issue of our time.  The costs are high in Minnesota, and they are preventable.

  • More than 61,000 Minnesotans experienced sexual violence in 2005.  The US Department of Justice estimates that 1 in 4 females and 1 in 7 males will experience attempted or completed sexual assault before the age of 18.
  • The cost for each child victimized in Minnesota is $184,000; for each adult $139,000. Those costs do not include the ripple effects of trauma.
  • Sexual, physical and psychological violence causes as much illness and death among women aged 15-44 as cancer.
  • Child sexual abuse and exploitation are more common than teen pregnancy, childhood obesity or pediatric cancer.
  • Average age girls first become victims of prostitution is 14.
  • In more than 70% of pornographic images reviewed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the children are sexually abused and further exploited by someone they know and trust.
  • Legal pornography is a multi-billion dollar a year business. There is growing attention to legal pornography as a public health issue.
  • Experiencing abuse leads to as much as a 2.5 fold increase in healthcare utilization in adults who have been victimized at some time in their lives, resulting in increased healthcare expenditures of up to $750 billion annually or 37.5% of all healthcare costs.
  • Sexual violence costs Minnesota $162 million in lost work in 2005.
  • Sexual violence costs 3.3 times as much as alcohol-impaired driving in Minnesota.

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The High Cost of Sexual Violence: It Is Your Business

The prevention of sexual violence in Minnesota begins with the idea that sexual violence is our business. Minnesotans are affected by sexual violence across the lifespan in homes, workplaces, organizations, and increasingly through the use of technology.

The landmark 2007 study by the Minnesota Department of Health, The Costs of Sexual Violence in Minnesota, quantified the economic costs of sexual violence in Minnesota for the first time – $8 billion annually.

For more statistics, see About Sexual Violence on the MNCASA website and the Minnesota Department of Health Sexual Violence Data Brief .   For more information about this data and to see other data, please visit www.mncasa.org.

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The Bottom Line Is Prevention

Sexual violence is preventable.  Primary prevention involves changing the odds by countering the environmental and social norms that support unhealthy attitudes, behaviors and practices. In this way, Minnesotans have successfully changed social norms about teen smoking, infant car seat use and recycling.

Primary prevention addresses the root causes of sexually violent behaviors and seeks to stop violence BEFORE it occurs. Primary prevention asks: Why are we continuing to grow individuals who use sex as an instrument of violence against others? And why in such large numbers?  It moves beyond individual and community awareness toward a multifaceted approach involving systemic strategies.

In 2007, The Minnesota Department of Health, with support from the US Centers for Disease Control and extensive community input, developed the first Sexual Violence Prevention Plan in state history.  (The Promise of Primary Prevention).  The plan takes a public health approach to sexual violence prevention with an emphasis on changing social norms.   It moves well beyond educating individuals and prosecuting offenders to broad-based social and policy change.

The Spectrum of Prevention is a tool developed by the Prevention Institute to strategize primary prevention efforts across the educational, training, coalition-building, organizational practice, and policy levels. Throughout the Summit, participants were encouraged to think about prevention on the levels high on the Spectrum: policy and organizational practice.  (The Spectrum of Prevention).

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