Bystanders: Your Best Weapon Against Sexual Assault

Enlisting the help of male and female students, athletes, coaches, staff, teachers, administrators, fraternity and sorority members, and even strangers enables campuses to develop allies in the battle against sexual violence on campus.

4 Steps to Make Your Sexual Assault Prevention Social Marketing Program More Effective

  1. Ads should be placed around campus on posters, buses, bookmarks, table tents, door hangers and computer screens (where students and staff must login)
  2. Do a saturated concentration of ads for six weeks and then take everything down. This keeps the messages from getting stale.
  3. “We found that the more the target audience says ‘These people look like me, say things I say,’ the greater the effect,” says Jane Stapleton, who is co-director of Prevention Innovations Research and Practices for Ending Violence Against Women at the University of New Hampshire. “For example, we found that the students in Durham, N.H., look really different than the students in Merced, Calif. We have a winter here that is really different, so we wear different clothes. Also, New Hampshire is predominantly white. At UC Merced, I think 45% of their students are white.”
  4. Target everyone, not just first year students.

Common Rape Myths

The following beliefs about sexual assault are held by many individuals, both male and female, in our society. Experts claim the following myths create rape-supportive attitudes and wrongly put the onus of prevention on women/girls.

  • Myth 1: Many girls/women falsely claim rape out of revenge or regret over consensual sex.
  • Myth 2: Girls/women “ask for it” when they dress and act in an overly flirtatious or sexual manner or when they drink or take drugs.
  • Myth 3: Men can’t restrain their sexual urges.
  • Myth 4: Girls/women who consent to any sexual activity or minimal sexual contact are consenting to all sexual activity, and they give up their right to say “no.”
  • Myth 5: Promiscuous girls are to blame for be
    ing or putting themselves in a bad situation.

Source: Journal of Sport & Social Issues

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About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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