Primary Prevention

What is Primary Prevention?

TAASA is dedicated to providing support for agencies and individuals working to end sexual violence in Texas and guidance regarding state level sexual violence primary prevention efforts.

We accomplish this by:

  • Training and support to professionals and agencies engaging in prevention efforts
  • Researching current trends in effective prevention programming and developing prevention-focused resources
  • Providing the space for and leading conversations that advance prevention practice
  • Supporting the work of the Primary Prevention Planning Committee–a statewide committee of community partners, state agencies, and local rape crisis center representatives

We are dedicated to changing the conditions in Texas communities that make sexual violence more likely to happen and to shifting social norms to support healthy and thriving individuals and communities.

For additional information or training inquiries, please contact TAASA’s prevention team.

Below you will find:

  • Information about sexual violence primary prevention
  • Information and resources targeted specifically to organizations receiving SAPCS-Federal RPE funding
  • A brief description of a few of our major projects

What is Sexual Violence PRIMARY PREVENTION?

Sexual violence primary prevention is a strategy to challenge and eradicate the causes of sexual violence.  When we describe this strategy, we often use the metaphor of how people react to a dangerous river of violence filled with drowning individuals. [In the context of sexual violence, this river has taken many victims, even while those who have survived its violence have mobilized and organized to support each other.] Primary prevention is the decision to look upstream to see why so many people are falling into this dangerous river.

Why Primary Prevention?

To prevent sexual violence, we have used three different strategies in the past: awareness raising, risk reduction, and primary prevention (see chart comparing these strategies). We have worked to raise awareness in our communities about the facts and figures associated with sexual violence.  We have provided potential victims information and strategies like “watch your drink” or taking self-defense classes to “keep themselves” safe in an attempt to reduce their risk of experiencing violence.  While these strategies have made people aware of the problem and may have helped some individuals reduce their risk of sexual violence, it has not made our communities safer. Sexual violence has continued to occur at alarming rates.

A primary prevention approach incorporates awareness-raising and asks communities to dig deeper and to ask the hard questions.  Rather than trying to keep one potential victim safe at a time, what if we engage all of society as a whole to end sexual violence at its roots? What are the roots of sexual violence? How can we end it? A primary prevention strategy asks us to look at our own attitudes and behaviors, how we interact with each other, and the norms of our communities, businesses, schools, and institutions in regards to violence.

Our goal is to transform the roots of our society and eradicate the blights of sexism, racism, homophobia, and other oppressions that result in social inequalities and injustices to put an end to sexual violence.

SAPCS-Federal RPE Grantees

Much of the sexual violence primary prevention work in Texas is done by rape crisis centers that are funded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) through the Office of the Attorney General of Texas (OAG of Texas) using a funding source called Sexual Assault Prevention and Crisis Services Federal Rape Prevention Education (SAPCS-Federal RPE) Funding. TAASA receives funding through this source to provide technical assistance (training, one-on-one support and assistance, and resources) to centers receiving this funding.

Check out our RPE Grant page, which contains content that is specifically designed to support SAPCS-Federal RPE grantees.

Non-grantees will likely find some, but not all, of the information and resources helpful to their own prevention efforts.

Major Projects

Break the Box

Break the Box is a media-based public awareness initiative aimed at ending sexual violence through education and action against gender inequality.  The initiative consists of a short video, video discussion and activity guide, and posters that support the messaging in the video.  In addition, Break the Box has a social media component through Causes – the world’s largest campaigning platform – where participants can view the video, take a pledge, share their stories, and get additional information about the prevalence of sexual violence in Texas.

For more information about Break the Box, contact Tim Love, Primary Prevention Director at (512) 474-7190 ext. 16 or email

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