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MESA and YDAE

Multicultural Efforts to end Sexual Assault (MESA) is a statewide sexual violence prevention effort that focuses on underserved and marginalized communities. MESA also works on preventing child sexual abuse in farmworker communities and has efforts in Indiana, California, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Florida. MESA is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Rape Prevention Education Grant, the Indiana State Department of Health, Ms. Foundation for Women, and the Texas Migrant Council. It hopes to secure new funding soon through the Just Beginnings Collaborative Foundation.

MESA does not focus only on preventing sexual violence and child sexual abuse. Using theater, music, and art to facilitate dialogue, MESA seeks to build the capacity for healthy, happy and safe communities and families. MESA also works with campus communities, but its biggest area of impact is in reaching and engaging Indiana’s migrant farmworker and LGBTQ communities.

Skye Brown, MESA’s Outreach Coordinator, is on the national board for Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Inc. and has developed sexual violence and interpersonal violence prevention in LGBTQ+ communities in Indiana. Kimber J. Nicoletti, MESA’s Director, serves on multiple committees and has leadership positions on campus, in the state and nationally. Joshua Nelson, a junior in the College of Technology, is MESA’s Social Media Coordinator/Student Worker and was recognized as one of the “100 Black LGBTQ/SGL Emerging Leaders to Watch” by the National Black Justice Coalition. Finally, MESA relies on the contributions of Computer Analyst Richard Fox, Web Programmer Craig Personett, and Administrative Assistant Jayne Price.

As a grant-funded program, MESA constantly measures and evaluates, from the number of people served, to changes in attitudes and behaviors, and the number of organizations engaged in primary prevention of sexual violence. MESA has conducted a statewide population needs assessment, and last year it measured attitudes about child sexual abuse in farm worker communities in Arizona and California.

MESA’s future will include efforts to diversify funding and increase the number of communities served. With a goal of expanding MESA’s scope beyond sexual violence and child sexual abuse, leaders will look at other ways to improve social justice and strengthen families and communities.

Students can gain a lot of experience by working as volunteers, student workers or even through formal student internships with MESA. By participating in real-world service learning that is focused on improving the lives of people in traditionally marginalized communities, students will gain knowledge about grant work, evaluation, distributing donations, community organizing, being creative with resources and servant leadership.

MESA enhances the campus community by bringing attention to critical issues, such as human trafficking, and providing a safe space for dialogue and for individuals seeking support after being victimized. MESA also provides crisis intervention and referral when other services are unavailable.

MESA has been recognized by the CDC as one of the first sexual violence prevention programs focused on farm worker communities. MESA has pioneered violence prevention work in Indiana. YDAE has had a funded sexual violence prevention program as part of the department since about 1998. MESA began under the umbrella of Dr. Mary Pilat’s Communities Against Rape Initiative (CARe), which was the first sexual violence prevention effort in Indiana. MESA’s work developed and grew out of CARe.

Learn more about MESA by visiting www.ydae.purdue.edu/mesa/ or “like” MESA:

Multicultural Efforts to end Sexual Assault on Facebook. MESA is currently working on holiday outreach for Indiana’s farm worker community. If you would like to donate items, a donation box has been set up outside AGAD 219. Please consider sponsoring a family or child this holiday season.