• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

Who remembers the Petrie Dish?


When I was a kid, if you had symptoms that were suspicious of being strep throat (as we called it), you were taken to the doctor who would put a long cotton swab into your mouth and wiggle it all around. And then they would swipe that into a Petrie dish. A Petrie dish was a flat round glass tray with red goop at the bottom. The culture. Depending on what grew (not that my childhood brain had any understanding of how this worked), the doctor would know whether or not you had bad thing growing in your throat. And if so, would prescribe antibiotics to kill the bad things growing.


We also got to use these Petrie dishes in middle school to experiment with bread molds and the anatomy of a sneeze. All sorts of things that today sound absolutely mortifying, to the point where I am wondering if this post needs to start with a trigger warning. 😉


Recently, while working on a project, the Petrie dish came back into my consciousness as a way to explain what we are trying to achieve these days.

Recently, while working on a project, the Petrie dish came back into my consciousness as a way to explain what we are trying to achieve these days.


So, please bear with me.


As I explained above, the Petrie dish model is built on the introduction of a substance and seeing what that substance is conducive to growing. And then once something grows, deciding how to get rid of it.


So, the solution to the growth of bacteria only comes once it is seen growing. And the solution is added to the place where the growth is happening.


It dawned on me that there is another way to prevent the bacteria from growing. That would be by making sure that the culture is not conducive to growing bacteria.

It dawned on me that there is another way to prevent the bacteria from growing. That would be by making sure that the culture is not conducive to growing bacteria.


Now, I know that in more advanced scientific work, there are different cultures for growing different types of cells or organisms. And maybe this is part of answer that we are so furiously working on getting to when it comes to eradicating sexual violence, in particular, and violence and abuse in general.


We know that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of quality programs out there that are addressing different pieces of the problem, some of them have been doing this for over 20 years, and yet, it doesn’t feel like we are any closer to a true solution.


What if, instead of addressing individual problems from the top-down, ie. antibiotics, to get rid of the bacteria that has started to grow, we came together to craft a culture that is intolerant to the growth and spread of violence?


I believe that we are at a point where we must ask, are we all in for eradicating violence? And if so, how do we work together to create a culture where violence cannot grow?

I believe that we are at a point where we must ask, are we all in for eradicating violence? And if so, how do we work together to create a culture where violence cannot grow?


If this is a conversation that you wish to be part of, talk to me.

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