As we round out Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we want to shine a light on the ongoing education and prevention efforts our community takes throughout the year help combat sexual violence before it happens. At the heart of this community are individuals like Kim Bradley, Wellness Coordinator at the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (TTUSD), whose tireless efforts are shaping a brighter future for the region.  

In a recent interview with Dom Apollon, our Community Education and Prevention Coordinator, Kim shared insights into her role at TTUSD, her connection to Sierra Community House, and the vital importance of education in preventing sexual assault and fostering healthy relationships. The conversation has been edited for space and clarity. 

This year’s theme of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is “Connected Communities.” What does connection mean to your work, specifically in preventing Sexual assault?

I think it’s about the relationships and building trust between the students who need the services, the school, and the community support and resources. I think so often there can be a stigma around sexual assaults, so we’ve been using our school-based wellness centers as a strategy to build a safe space for those relationships. We bring the resources to the students, and it takes down that barrier to access. I think what’s helped build connections is how present the Sierra Community House Prevention Team has been in the schools. 

What role does education play in preventing sexual assault, and how can we improve awareness and understanding

I think education is key, especially when you’re talking about Sexual Assault and Teen Dating Violence with adolescents. Sometimes they can normalize unhealthy behaviors and not realize that isn’t okay. The earlier that we can get in and educate students on what healthy relationships look like, what boundaries look like, what consent is the better to give them tools and knowledge, hopefully before they’re in a situation that is not safe or healthy. 

What advice do you have for parents when it comes to educating their kids about sexual assault and healthy relationships?    

We need to be teaching our kids that we are open to having these conversations and that we’re a resource for them and a supportThe earlier you talk to your kids, and you open the conversation where it’s safe and okay to talk about these things, even though it might feel awkward or uncomfortable, will make a difference.  

What makes you hopeful about the future when you look at current students? Have you seen any trends or changes in how students are talking about these important issues?    

I am so inspired by our youth and the next generation. It’s what keeps me going in this work. Even elementary school students are aware and seeking out information. They are really wanting to take action and to make a change around sexual assault, drug and alcohol awareness, gender, and LGBTQ issues. I think they are going to be leading the way in having these kinds of conversations. We just need to create the space for that and listen. 

In a world where the conversation surrounding sexual assault and healthy relationships is more crucial than ever, individuals like Kim Bradley stand as beacons of hope and change. Sierra Community House is grateful to partner with organizations that through their dedication and unwavering commitment, are shaping a future where communities are connected, informed, and empowered to create safer and more inclusive environments for all.