Study: Students Not Impressed With College Sexual Assault Prevention Programs

Published: June 4, 2013

Awareness raising activities, safety initiatives and social norm/social marketing were deemed students to be the most effective ways of ending campus rape/sexual assault, according to a report recently released by Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER).

Of the 457 college student respondents to the survey, 48% said safety initiatives such as blue lights and safe rides home were the most effective approaches. More than two in five said awareness raising events, such as Take Back the Night, were most effective. Social norms or social marketing, such as “Real Men Don’t Rape” campaigns (38%); comprehensive, clear sexual assault policies (32%); bystander intervention (32%) education for potential victims/survivors, including self-defense classes (31%); on-campus crisis response, such as hotlines and in-person advocacy (29%) and education of potential perpetrators (29%) were other approaches deemed effective.

That being said, half of the respondents gave their campus’ efforts to address sexual violence a “C” or lower. More than a quarter don’t know if their college or university has a rape/sexual assault policy, and only 43% of the students surveyed said they’ve read their school’s policy.

Additionally, only about one in five said their institution provides education for potential perpetrators or bystanders, as opposed to more the 40% saying their school provides education for potential victims/survivors.

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“By devoting more resources and attention to risk reduction strategies (focused on potential victims) than primary prevention (focused on potential perpetrators and bystanders), schools may be sending the message that victims are more responsible for preventing sexual violence than are the perpetrators themselves, thereby perpetuating rape culture,” the report claims.

Read the full report.

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