Currently, IowaCASA works with more than a dozen subcontractors around the state. We use a public health lens to end sexual violence. Research tells us a lot about why sexual assault happens in the first place. We look at this research and use it to build program strategies for communities. Our goal is to help communities develop the skills to stop sexual violence before it starts.


Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that sexual violence starts early in the lifespan. Many victims are sexually assaulted before age 18. 

Victim service advocates talk to legislators during an advocacy day at the Iowa State Capitol.

Sexual violence is associated with several risk and protective factors, including characteristics of the individual and their social and physical environments. While much is known about the risk factors of sexual violence—hyper-masculinity, traditional gender norms, poverty, gender inequality, social norms that "normalize" rape—less is known about protective factors that decrease the risk of sexual violence. 


However, evidence suggests that greater empathy, emotional health and connectedness, academic achievement, and having parents who use reasoning to resolve family conflicts are associated with a lower risk of sexual violence perpetration. 

We believe sexual violence can be prevented. As outlined by the CDC, public health underscores the importance of primary prevention—this means preventing sexual violence before it occurs. To have the greatest impact on prevention, we must focus on strategies and approaches most likely to impact sexual violence. 

Consider the following figure from the CDC report Stop SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence (2016, page 11):

For more information about each of these strategies—including rationale, potential outcomes, and evidence—we encourage you to read the full toolkit from the CDC. Click here to download the PDF now.

There are a number of resources for sexual violence prevention, including the following:

To find out more about IowaCASA's efforts toward sexual violence prevention, contact Prevention, Community, and Campus Engagement Specialist KellyMarie Z. Meek at or call (515) 850-1906.

© 2020 by the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. 3030 Merle Hay Road  |  Des Moines, IA 50310 

Office: (515) 244-7424  |  Fax: (515) 850-1900

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