Upstream vs. Downstream

By Martha McCaughey *

It’s amazing what we learn when we read outside our field.  A 2015 article by William Scott (here), reveals that those engaged with sustainable development efforts face many of the challenges those of us doing sexual assault prevention face.

Specifically, Scott and his colleagues feel that they’ve done too much “downstream remedial” work (measures that deal with the consequences of harm) and not enough “upstream prevention” work (interventions to address the underlying causes of problems).  Sound familiar?

Scott describes an N.E.F. report, which “argues for prevention, and says that bottom-up prevention is best, with people and organisations becoming more resilient: building up their own immune systems, both literally and metaphorically, so that they become less susceptible to harm, changing attitudes and capabilities so that they are better able to take positive actions themselves.” Continue reading “Upstream vs. Downstream”