Prevention and Empowerment (PAE) seeks to prevent sexual violence before it occurs by examining and addressing root causes: social norms, attitudes, and beliefs that contribute to the normalization and perpetration of sexual violence, power and control over others, and systems of oppression.

Our prevention programs align with best practices to include strategies at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels. See below for more details about our prevention programs. If you would like more information, you can call 616.459.4681 or email

Good Nightlife Project

The Good Nightlife Project empowers local bars, clubs, and breweries to recognize and respond to sexual violence among patrons and staff. The aim of the Good Nightlife Project is to foster a safer and more inclusive nightlife culture in Grand Rapids. To learn more about the program, visit the tab to the left, or click here.

Healthy Relationships Classes for Schools

The YWCA uses a research-informed curricula for middle and high school students that is inclusive of all identities and experiences.

Students will learn the basics of healthy relationships, problem-solving skills surrounding relationships (intimate or friendship) conflicts, recognize their responsibilities as bystanders, and learn how to advocate for violence-free relationships.

The program includes 10 sessions on the following topics:

  • Introduction to Relationships
  • Exploring Gender Stereotypes
  • Gender and Relationships in the Media
  • Examining Power in Relationships
  • Flirting vs. Sexual Harassment
  • Building Healthy Relationships
  • Healthy Boundaries
  • Unhealthy Relationships
  • Finding Help and Helping Skills
  • Taking Action

Our sessions can be integrated into any classroom, whether it be health, gym, art, social studies, etc. and can be tailored to the unique needs of any school.

If you would like more information about Healthy Relationships Classes, contact Hannah Nelson at or call 616.426.3722.

Sexual Assault Prevention Action Team of Kent County

PAE represents the YWCA West Central Michigan on the Sexual Assault Prevention Action Team (SAPAT) of Kent County, a coalition formed by local organizations whose ultimate goal is the elimination of sexual violence in our community.

Click here to view SAPAT’s 2019 Sexual Assault Awareness Month Newsletter, featuring contributions from our staff and other member organizations.

To learn more about SAPAT’s upcoming activities and programs check out their website.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Every April, the YWCA joins the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and voices around the country for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness and educate communities on how to prevent sexual violence.

This year, SAAM celebrated its 18th anniversary with the theme I Ask, championing the message that asking for consent is healthy, normal, and a necessary part of our everyday interactions.

The YWCA spread this message by participating in the #30DaysofSAAM Instagram campaign as well as through several community events, including drag brunches, community yoga, a documentary screening, and a community art project.

We know that one month alone is not enough to completely eradicate sexual violence. However, the attention that SAAM generates each April is an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts throughout the year.

Are you interested in hosting a SAAM event at your agency, business, or school in 2020? Contact Jake Carter at, or call 616.426.3723.


Call Prevention and Empowerment Services at 616.459.4681 or email