Each year the Rape Recovery Center honors an organization or individual in our community with the "Pillar of Hope" award for their work in moving forward our mission to end sexual violence in Utah. This year, we have selected Centro de la Familia de Utah (CDLFU) for their incredible commitment to sexual violence prevention in the Latinx community. For the past two years, the Rape Recovery Center has worked in partnership with CDLFU to develop and implement a sexual violence prevention curriculum for Latinx families.
It is often said that "an ounce of prevention is equal to a pound of cure." Recognizing the wisdom in this sentiment, the Rape Recovery Center employs a small but mighty team of prevention educators who work with youth and families throughout Salt Lake County. Our educators work to empower individuals with information about healthy relationships, consent, and boundaries. Our prevention team recognizes that these topics are heavily influenced by the cultures and identities of the individuals they work with, and in partnership with community organizations like CDLFU we have created several culturally relevant prevention programs.
Last year our team launched Nuestras Familias, Nuestra Salud (or Our Famlies, Our Health). This one of a kind program is offered in both Spanish and English to Latinx families through a partnership between the Rape Recovery Center, CDLFU, and Talk to a Survivor. During a pilot session in 2017, 12 families met weekly over 8 weeks to participate in the program.
This cohort of nearly 70 individuals came together every Friday night to enjoy dinner with one another as a group, followed by breakout sessions on topics like defining healthy and unhealthy relationships, dealing with difficult emotions, and healthy communication. From toddlers to grandmothers, each member of the family is invited to engage in these conversations with others in their age group.
After the completion of this pilot program, we found that families who participated report a significant overall increase in non-violent problem solving skills and decrease in attitudes that promote sexual violence (based on pre and post test data). "It was amazing to see the way this [program] created hope and spaces for healing in the families we had the privilege to work with," says Rape Recovery Center Outreach and Access Coordinator Stephany Murguia-Vega.
In early 2018, a second cohort of families began the Nuestras Familias, Nuestra Salud program. This second group of families graduated on April 20, 2018. Through this important partnership we hope to create many more opportunities for families and communities to come together and learn about preventing sexual violence. "Our partnership with CDLFU has opened up new and incredible possibilities for sexual violence prevention in Utah. This partnership really illustrates the power of collaboration and community building," says Mara Haight, Rape Recovery Center Executive Director.
Join us at the Hope and Healing Gala on June 8th, 2018 to honor the incredible work that Centro de la Familia de Utah has done to move this project forward.The funds raised at our annual gala help support important prevention programs like Nuestras Familias, Nuestra Salud, as well as the spectrum of healing services the Rape Recovery Center offers.