David S. Lee, M.P.H. Director of Prevention Services
David Lee is going to be one of NCEDSV’s main speakers for this year’s conference: United Voices for Change on September 18, 19, and 20th at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino, Reno.
Lee started in the movement 35 years ago. His interest and feminist values sparked from watching his mother volunteer in a battered women’s shelter in the 1970s. Because of his mother’s passion toward the movement, Lee started volunteering in 1982 with a group of male advocates to end violence against women. David Lee joined CALCASA in 2005 and leads CALCASA’s team that provides training and technical assistance to California’s rape crisis centers on prevention. He also manages PreventConnect, the nation’s leading online community to advance primary prevention of sexual and domestic violence. He has been a part of the movement to end sexual assault and domestic violence since 1982. Even though the violence against women movement has historically been about female advocates, Lee is thrilled to be a part of such a strong movement that has come so far. “As a man, I feel it is my duty to step up and focus on prevention and change the culture.”
LEE’S VIEW ON THE CURRENT MOVEMENT OF ENDING VIOLENCE
There has been a tremendous growth in the publicity surrounding the movement these past few decades in all types of media. “Crisis has happened in athletics, colleges, jobs, and I am not saying it has been resolved, however, now there is recognition of the problem and it is not based on individuals but instead based on society.” Since domestic and sexual violence are still very prominent in society, it is a shame that institutions are not taking the proper responsibility and procedures to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. However, Lee is more optimistic than ever that with the new generation of advocates rising, that “we will have a whole generation of people who are ready to take action and know that they need to take action in order to make transformation.”
ABOUT LEE’S CONFERENCE PRESENTATION
Since CALCASA is part of the national movement “fix sexual violence in one generation”, Lee’s presentation at this year’s conference will be focused on the type of direction our movement needs to take in order to move forward. He will explore what it takes to end sexual violence in one generation, what partnerships we will need, what steps we need to take, and why we need to focus on prevention and go beyond just responding. “In order to prevent crisis and violence, we have to have a profound revolution of values that will embody how we live and how institutions react.” Lee thinks that we, as a country, have made the first step in these strides and that in the next 35 years we will have made even bigger strides.
LEE’S FAVORITE SELF – CARE TIP
Lee’s favorite self-care advice is to do whatever energizes you the most, honor your strength and take full advantage of it. When we do something that ‘fuels’ us, versus something like a spa day to sedate us, it is more likely to reenergize and reconnect us physically and mentally. Personally, Lee enjoys working on projects, watching an exciting baseball game or just being with family.
Originally founded in 1980 as the California State Coalition of Rape Crisis Centers, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) was created by rape crisis centers from across the state interested in creating a unified voice to advocate on behalf of the statewide needs of survivors, system’s change, funding needs and policy advocacy.
In 1997, CALCASA received the funding to open a fully staffed office in Oakland, California. Today, there are two offices located in Sacramento and Pasadena.
CALCASA is the only professional organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of and supporting the work of rape crisis centers, which operate independently throughout California. CALCASA is committed to ending sexual violence through a multifaceted approach of prevention, intervention, education, research, advocacy and public policy.
The organization provides a critical bridge among the efforts made by advocates providing direct services, statewide policy makers and federal responses to violence against women. Through ongoing communication and meetings with member programs, CALCASA is able to relay the challenges and successes of local work to the national level; and at the same time convey best practices, evidence-based and practice-based evidence programs emerging at the national level to local member programs.
Since CALCASA has a national and local perspective of emerging issues and is also familiar with the demographic and cultural makeup of California, it can help to support the work of member centers by designing effective ways to address and integrate developing issues into the direct service programs of rape crisis centers, including providing training and technical assistance that many members may not otherwise be able to access.