Diverse Solutions for a Complex Issue
In this series, we highlight the tools and programs provided by Culture of Respect to help higher education end campus sexual violence.
Sexual violence prevention is not singular. It must encompass many things at once as the causes of sexual harm interconnect, socially and culturally entrenched, and deeply complex.
The Prevention Programming Matrix - a tool that identifies prevention programs available for implementation on a college campus - reflects some of the diversity of prevention work. Each page features an educational program that has the potential to impact the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of employees and students.
Within the spectrum of educational strategies, the Matrix reveals a few key things about approaches to sexual violence prevention. The array of programs point to two foundational pillars of higher education’s current prevention strategy: bystander education and online programming. The behavior is influenced by the 2014 VAWA amendments additions to the Clery Act that require colleges and universities to offer prevention education to incoming students and new employees. Instruction on bystander approaches to prevention is required by the law and the mandate to offer instruction en masse means that scalable, technology-driven strategies are attractive to administrators.
Given the ease and prevalence of delivering the education material online, it seems inevitable that it will continue to be an important tool for the field. What we see from the diversity of the offerings in the Matrix is that folks are continuing to innovate delivery methods for online content. The newest addition, Repower U, roots its video-based program in an app that offers ancillary services and resources for students. Many programs on the page, including U, Got This!, change the course of the presentation based on user inputs.
Increasingly, custom-tailored programs are gaining in popularity. Single-gender programs provide men with the opportunity to talk about healthy masculinity and allow women the opportunity to practice setting and maintaining boundaries through empowerment self-defense courses. Programs like Bout That Life opens up space for students who share identities to process the impact of violence in their communities.
Like our work, the Matrix is evolving. It will continue to reflect the growth and change, and accumulation of knowledge within our field.
Culture of Respect supports institutions of higher education in all aspects of preventing and responding to campus sexual violence. Apply now for the fourth cohort of the Collective and join more than 100 colleges and universities in fostering a Culture of Respect.
Sarice Greenstein is the former assistant director of Culture of Respect at NASPA.