Carmody, M. 2014. “Sexual Violence Prevention Educator Training: Opportunities and Challenges.”

Carmody, Moira. 2014. “Sexual Violence Prevention Educator Training: Opportunities and Challenges.” Pp. 150-159 in Preventing Sexual Violence: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Overcoming a Rape Culture, edited by Nicola Henry and Anastasia Powell. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Education seen as a key way to undermine sexual violence – often taking a primary prevention approach, through education system, nonprofits, and social service agencies. Training for these educational programs is diverse in content and application, bringing forth questions as to what information to include, who can speak for whom, what role educators play (facilitator, expert advisor, etc.), and how trainees are supposed to receive their own education. As many educators and school administrators are reluctant to include sexual violence prevention in their curriculum (due to personal discomfort, lack of own professional training, fear of backlash), many educational programs rely heavily on peer education, which has been widely used in alcohol, drug, and tobacco use prevention. Instead of information coming from authority figures, peer education shares information with people who are similar to the recipients. This has been an increasingly popular approach, but does not have supporting evidence for its programmatic effectiveness (Ellis 2008), thus cannot determine if peer education has significant preventative impacts on behavior (West and Mitchell 1995) – often seen as a “cheaper,” less-professional option for educators. Similarly, as sexual violence is rooted within interactions and values of gender, sexuality, power, and relationship, can all of these factors be addressed through preventative education?

In adult education: “Given that the ultimate objective of primary prevention is to prevent sexual violence before it occurs, there is a need to find ways to maximise the development of new cultural norms that promote respectful and ethical relationships. Crucial to this process is the need to ensure that facilitators who are preparing personnel to deliver anti-violence messages understand a diversity of adult learning approaches. They also need more than just the knowledge about different theories and to be further able to make informed choices about which approach is most likely to achieve different learning objectives. However, this needs to be complemented by opportunities for personnel to learn the skills required to examine complex interpersonal situations, and to understand their own values or ethical system and how this may help or hinder the development of respectful relationships” (158).

Utilizing transformative approaches to change belief and value systems; the use of reflection to interrogate power (Brookfield 2009) – not only at participant level but that of the presenter – particularly in group-level and identity-based dynamics between that of presenter and group.


Brookfield, S. 2009. “The Concept of Critical Reflection: Promises and Contradictions.” European Journal of Social Work 12(3): 293-304.

Ellis, J. 2008. “Literature Review: Better Outcomes for Children and Young People Affected by Domestic Abuse: Directions for Good Practice.” In Primary Prevention of Domestic Abuse Through Education, edited by C. Humpreys, C. Houghton, and J. Ellis. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.

West, P. and L. Mitchell. 1995. “ Smoking and Peer Influence,” In A.L. Goreczny and N. Hersen (eds.) Handbook of Paediatric and Adolescent Health in Psychology. Needham Heights: Allyn and Bacon.


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