The Evaluation of Campus-Based Gender Violence Prevention Programming: What We Know about Program Effectiveness and Implication for Practitioners

From VAWnet, the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women comes a publication entitled The Evaluation of Campus-Based Gender Violence Prevention Programming: What We Know about Program Effectiveness and Implication for Practitioners by Roberta E. Gibbons. It covers the effectiveness of various programs for reducing sexual and domestic violence on campus such as risk reduction/self-defense programs, empathy building programs, rape awareness/attitude change programs and bystander programs.

Findings include:

  • Programs have been effective in increasing knowledge and decreasing rape supportive attitudes, especially in the short term.
  • Length of exposure to interventions matters. Longer and more frequent exposures to interventions result in greater outcomes.
  • Bystander programs have demonstrated link between change in attitudes an change in behavior.

 Click below to read through!

Podcast: What’s Happening on our Campuses and How Can We Change It?

Ashley Maier of Prevent Connect and Alexis Marbach of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence are back with a new prevention session! This time, they discuss sexual assault and domestic violence on college campuses. Colleges and universities have certainly made the news lately regarding sexual and domestic violence taking place at their institutions and student activists are speaking out.  So what does this mean for prevention?

Listen to the podcast by clicking on vie resource below.

Podcast-Engaging Men on College Campuses: A Conversation

This podcast features Jonathan Gates of the Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force‘s Oregon Men Against Violence initiative. Jonathan provides insights into engaging men on college campuses, particularly in light of the recent rise in news coverage and student activism around rape culture on the nation’s campuses. Jonathan draws from his time coordinating a men against violence group at an Oregon university.

Listen to their discussion by clicking on view resource below.


Social Media in Prevention Work on Campuses

On June 26, 2013, PreventConnect’s Chad Sniffen gave a presentation titled “Social Media in Prevention Work on Campuses” on how to optimize the use of social media for social justice movements at the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women Summer Training and Technical Assistance Institute from June 24 to 27, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Click on view resource below to review the presentation.

Beyond Bystander Intervention [Podcast]

This podcast follows the Beyond Bystander Intervention: Addressing Power-Based Violence and Rape Culture on the College Campus session at the 2013 National Sexual Assault Conference.  Vickie Sides, Director of Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention at University of Chicago and Rachel Caidor, Associate Director of the Campus Advocacy Network at University of Illinois at Chicago join the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s Sari Lipsett to discuss the session, moving the conversation about rape prevention models that seek to change individual behavior to models that engage intervention on rape culture more broadly on the college campus. 


Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence

The purpose of this toolkit — Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence — is to provide facts, ideas,
strategies, conversation starters, and resources to everyone on campus who cares about the prevention of sexual violence.

American College Health Association (2008) Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence

Using a Comprehensive Approach to Preventing Sexual Violence

campus-rapeIn January, President Obama established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.  The members of this task force (which include the Attorney General, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Education) have many tasks, including “providing institutions with evidence-based best and promising practices for preventing and responding to rape and sexual assault. “

In the last month, many organizations have provided the Task Force feedback through listening sessions held in February and written input. From my perspective as a prevention practitioner, we need to ensure prevention, including primary prevention, is part of a comprehensive approach to addressing sexual violence on college campuses and in our communities. A comprehensive approach to prevent sexual violence incorporates diverse strategies that are culturally relevant, sustainable, responsive to community needs, and consider risk and protective factors on the individual, relationship, community and societal levels.  We want prevention efforts that are informed by the best available evidence as well as fit the specific needs of the community.

When reviewing several organizations input to the community, I was alarmed when I saw the recommendations to the Task Force from RAINN that defined primary prevention in this manner: “…the most effective — the primary — way to prevent sexual violence is to use the criminal justice system to take more rapists off the streets.”  While a criminal justice response is part of the solution, we cannot end rape by primarily enforcing criminal laws. I cannot think of any social problem that has been solved primarily by criminal enforcement.

In order to prevent sexual violence we need to identify community-wide solutions, not only actions that are addressing sexual assault on an individual case-by-case basis.  Thus, changing culture and norms that shape behaviors are key elements to prevention. I do not see the value of labeling efforts to end rape culture as an “unfortunate trend” as RAINN does in their recommendations. Finding ways to effectively transform rape culture is a necessary piece of the change we seek.

I recommend comprehensive community-based solutions. In February, I had the opportunity to speak about prevention at the UVA Dialogue on Sexual Misconduct Among College Students. I described how effort to prevent sexual violence should include all of these elements:

  • Services: Provide victim-centered supportive services to survivors of sexual violence and those impacted by violence by sexual violence, and dedicate sufficient resources to support individual and community healing.
  • Systems: Build effective responses, services and systems response to sexual violence incidents to provide consistent community and social sanctions for perpetrators of violence.
  • Awareness: Conduct efforts to engage the community in dialogue around sexual violence as a serious community issue, raising the profile of the problem of sexual violence, and making it relevant to individual and community lived experience. This includes efforts toward public safety that focus on helping individuals and communities managing the existing conditions that facilitate sexual violence.  Such safety efforts can include publicizing available resources, individual empowerment strategies, and community safety plans.
  • Primary Prevention: Implement strategies that seek to develop healthy, robust, and just communities crucial to interrupt the culture in which sexual violence thrives. These strategies promote the norms and behaviors that support a community without sexual violence.

We cannot lose sight of primary prevention efforts. I agree with RAINN that we should not mandate the use of specific curricula toward preventing sexual violence as each college and community needs to find the strategies that best meet their specific needs and build upon the assets of that community.  However, I do not agree with RAINN that “research has shown that prevention efforts that focus solely on men and “redefining masculinity,” …are unlikely to be effective.” Sexual Violence Research Initiative’s 2011 Report Engaging Boys and Men in the Prevention of Sexual Violence and other research indicate many strategies that have promise in reducing sexual violence perpetration.

I wish sexual violence could be prevented with a video, brochure, or pre-packaged program. However, we need to dedicate a range of activities, that includes activities that RAINN calls for, and comprehensive prevention efforts to create colleges and communities without rape.

Article written by David S. Lee, MPH, Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA).  Photo from Her Campus.

American College Health Association Campus Sexual Violence Resources

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Campus and Sexual Violence Resources by American College Health Association is an index page of American College Health Association (ACHA) resources and external resources on the topic of campus sexual assault.  Resources include association projects, programs, publications, guidelines, and more.

Click through the above links to read the resources.

Talking-Points Memo on Campus Sexual Assault from the AAUW

AAUW has been empowering women as individuals and as a community since 1881. For more than 130 years, we have worked together as a national grassroots organization to improve the lives of millions of women and their families.

To read the AAUW talking-points memo on campus sexual assault click here, or to read about funding for sexual assault prevention initiatives click here.



SCOPE Online Prevention Program Clearinghouse

SCOPE (the School and College Organization for Prevention Educators) has created a clearinghouse of online prevention programs for Alcohol and Other Drugs, Bystander Intervention and Sexual Violence. Inclusion in the clearinghouse does not constitute endorsement by SCOPE.”

This PDF is a list of programs developed to address a variety of issues on college campuses.