Basile, Kathleen C. 2015. “A Comprehensive Approach to Sexual Violence Prevention.” New England Journal of Medicine 372(24):2350-2352.
Sexual violence can be cast as a social health problem (MMWR Surveillance Survey 2014), with lasting health outcomes for survivors. National data notes that of women who report rape, 40% were first raped before the age of 18, and 38% between 18-24 years of age (totaling 78% of women who were raped prior to the age of 25) – (MMWR Surveillance Summary 2014). 20% of undergraduate women were victims of sexual violence since beginning college (Krebs et al 2009). Trial administration of “enhanced sexual assault resistance programs” instituted with female university students in Canada reduced the risks of completed and attempted rape, as well as reduced levels of attempted coercion and non-consensual sexual contact (to a lesser degree). This program featured educational modules on different times of sexual violence, a multiple-session/multi-method teaching approach, and a strong interventionist model rooted in theory (Nurius and Norris 1996). Unfortunately, this tested program continues the victim-based prevention model, which does little to address the responsibility of perpetrators and bystanders. Currently, the most effective violence-prevention models focuses on primary prevention with perpetrators (as a segment of a larger comprehensive program) (Basile 2003; DeGue et al 2014) – however, to understand and confront violence, we may take on a social-ecologic model, which addresses violence not just at individual levels, but as contextualized through group/community interactions, organizations, and structures. This model (which reaches beyond individual address) has been met with success, reducing rates of sexual harassment, stalking, and perpetration, through the integration of bystander training (Coker et al 2014), as compared to those without such programs. Currently, prevention programs are working to identify unsafe areas (kx^ geographies of fear?) through improving staff monitoring of NYC middle schools– this intervention has successfully reduced sexual violence perpetration (Taylor et al 2013). Interestingly, as the number of on-premises venues for alcohol purchase are present within a geographic area, the number of police-reported rapes increase (Toomey et al 2012) – evaluation of these areas and substance supply may be sites of future investigation and policymaking.
Training women to protect themselves from sexual violence is a long-standing and positive means of preventing such assaults (Basile 2003); however, women-focused approaches present bandaids to the issue – where perpetrators’ roles in assaults are overlooked. Yet, there are no good ways to establish quick-and-dirty patches to sexual violence; “Quick, single-session sexual violence interventions are not effective an may actually be harmful” (2351 see also DeGue et al 2014). Woman-centered prevention programs must be a PART, not the WHOLE of our community approach to ending sexual violence.
Basile, KC. 2003. “Implications of Public Health for Policy on Sexual Violence.” Annual NY Acad Sci 989:446-463.
Coker, AL, BS Fisher, HM Bush et al. 2014. “Evaluation of the Green Dot Bystander Intervention to Reduce Interpersonal Violence among College Students across Three Campuses. Violence against Women (epub ahead of print — UPDATE!)
DeGue, S, LA Valle, MK Holt, GM Massetti, JL Matjasko, and AT Tharp. 2014. “A Systematic Review of Primary Prevention Strategies for Sexual Violence.” Aggress Violent Behav 19:346-362.
Krebs, CP, CH Lindquist, TD Warner, BS Fisher, and SL Martin. 2009. “College Women’s Experiences with Physically Forced, Alcohol- or Other Drug-Enabled, and Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault before and since Entering College. Journal of American College Health 57:639-647.
MMWR Surveillance Summary. 2014. 63(8):1-18.
Nurius, PS and JA Norris. 1996. “A Cognitive Ecological Model of Women’s Response to Male Sexual Coercion in Dating.” Journal of Psychology of Human Sexuality 8:117-139.
Taylor, BG, ND Stein, EA Mumford, and D Woods. “Shifting Boundaries: An Experimental Evaluation of a Dating Violence Intervention Program in Middle Schools.” Prev Sci 14:64-76.
Toomey, TL, DJ Erickson, BP Carlin, et al. 2012. “The Association between Density of Alcohol Establishments and Violent Crime within Urban Neighborhoods.” Alcohol Clin Exp Res 36:1468-1473.