Reducing sexual violence on campus: The role of student leaders as empowered bystanders


Sexual violence is a widespread problem for college communities. Students, faculty, and staff are increasingly involved in prevention efforts. To date, however, evaluation of sexual violence prevention programs has shown mixed results. One promising new practice teaches segments of college communities to be engaged, positive bystanders. It aims to both raise awareness about the problem of sexual violence and build skills that individuals can use to end it. The framework is grounded in research about the causes of sexual assault on campuses and factors identified by health behavior theories for changing attitudes and behavior. Evaluation of data using a bystander model is just beginning to appear. The current study presents a brief evaluation of one bystander program conducted with two groups of student leaders on one midsize public university campus in the Northeast. Results show the program to be effective, even among a group of student leaders who have a higher level of general awareness of campus community problems and training in working with students. Implications for programming and future research are discussed.


Psychology, Prevention Innovations Research Center Pubs

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Journal of College Student Development


Johns Hopkins University Press

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