Level 1: Strengthening Individual Knowledge and Skills
Enhancing an individual’s capability of preventing violence and promoting safety
Workshops that educate audiences about the definition of sexual assault, its impact, how to respond to disclosures, and where to find local resources fit into this level. These awareness-raising activities are critical in that they give information on what to do when incidents of violence have occurred. They also make the case that sexual violence is a serious problem. Changes you might make at this level to incorporate primary prevention information and skills-building are likely to be minor and more about content than format. For example, integrating information about what healthy relationships look like, talking about gender socialization, teaching critical media analysis skills, or including role-plays on how to be a proactive bystander would add primary prevention messages to your workshop.
The NSVRC has developed a PowerPoint workshop and associated Facilitator’s Guide for campus communities based on bystander intervention theory, the Making a Difference: Your Role in Sexual Violence Prevention On Campus workshop. Click here (http://www.nsvrc.org/saam/campus-workshop ) to access these tools.
For workshops or trainings to be most effective, they should be culturally relevant and tailored to the unique audience you are working with. Collaborating with partners who have expertise in the cultural needs of specific populations on campus will help increase cultural relevancy.
One way to improve the efficacy of one-on-one skills-building programs is to hold multiple-session workshops to reinforce knowledge and build skills rather than host one-time training events. Nation and colleagues developed a set of nine principles that contribute to successful prevention education programs that can help when examining potential curricula for use on your campus. The nine principles include: (http://www.mentoring.org/downloads/mentoring_4.pdf )
1) Comprehensiveness: Strategies should include multiple components and affect multiple settings to address a wide range of risk and protective factors.
2) Varied teaching methods: Strategies should include multiple teaching methods, including some type of active, skills-based component.
3) Sufficient dosage: Participants need to be exposed to enough of the activity for it to have an effect.
4) Theory-driven: Preventive strategies should have a scientific justification or logical rationale.
5) Positive relationships: Programs should foster strong, stable, positive relationships between children and adults.
6) Appropriately timed: Program activities should happen at a time (developmentally) that can have maximal impact in a participant’s life.
7) Socio-culturally Relevant: Programs should be tailored to fit within cultural beliefs and practices of specific groups as well as local community norms.
8) Outcome Evaluation: A systematic outcome evaluation is necessary to determine whether a program or strategy worked.
9) Well-Trained Staff: Programs need to be implemented by staff members who are sensitive, competent, and have received sufficient training, support, and supervision. Follow-up (booster) training and technical assistance to staff are critical.
CASE EXAMPLE: BRINGING IN THE BYSTANDER
The Bringing in the Bystander (BITB) program was developed in 2002 by Elizabethe Plante, Victoria Banyard, Mary M. Moynihan, and Robert Eckstein at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). This curriculum translates research on bystander intervention (whether someone witnessing an act of crime or violence will intervene to stop the act or help the victim) and early programs by Jackson Katz and Alan Berkowitz into a sexual violence primary prevention program for college students.
The goals of the program include helping participants identify a range of sexually violent behaviors, understand bystander intervention, identify their own barriers to intervening, become motivated and make a commitment to intervene, and learn a range of skills that could be used to intervene safely in the future. The program uses role-playing and interactive learning to convey the lessons and realistically analyze the challenges in being an engaged bystander. By focusing on the role both men and women play in being engaged bystanders, this program helps to remove the sense of blame men may hear, in more traditional rape prevention programs, for being potential perpetrators, and that women may feel for failing to protect themselves from sexual assault.
Multiple research studies have been conducted on the BITB program with a variety of audiences, including the general student population, fraternities and sororities, athletes, and student leaders at UNH. The program has also been adapted and used on many other college campuses. These studies have shown the program to be effective at increasing positive bystander attitudes, increasing self-confidence in being able to intervene (self-efficacy), and increasing self-reported bystander behavior. According to Bringing in the Bystander lead trainer Robert Eckstein, a few components of the program are particularly powerful for student participants:
• Using a real-life story from UNH’s history. Giving an example from the local community helps the issue hit home for students. In addition, often these types of cases highlight situations where bystanders clearly could have made a positive difference and did not.
• Including information on the continuum of sexual violence, especially highlighting the fact that smaller, seemingly benign, sexist behaviors contribute to a greater culture where sexual violence is more likely to occur. By showing participants that rape culture exists in a manner that does not provoke defensiveness, students are reminded that pro-social bystanders are needed everywhere along the continuum of violence.
• Walking students through an empathy-building exercise to understand how difficult things can be for individuals who are survivors of sexual assault. This is especially effective at reminding participants why they’re talking about this and why their help is needed.
For more information about Bringing in the Bystander, visit http://www.unh.edu/preventioninnovations/index.cfm?ID=BCC7DE31-CE05-901F-0EC95DF7AB5B31F1 
The Bringing in the Bystander Facilitator’s Guide is available for free by contacting
Mary M. Moynihan at (603) 862-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Training on using the program at other universities and communities is also available through UNH.