Statistics reveal that as many as one in four young women are raped or are victims of attempted rape while attending college. A program that teaches university-age women how to avoid rape has shown some success in reducing the numbers of women in Canada who are sexually assaulted, suggested a new study.
The study included a group of nearly 900 women at three Canadian universities. These first-year students were randomly assigned to either look at brochures on avoiding campus rape or to complete the training course.
The study said, "During four separate three-hour sessions, the women learn information, skills and practices to assess risk from acquaintances, to overcome emotional barriers in acknowledging danger and to engage in effective verbal and physical self-defense. Instructors also helped students explore their own sexual values, desires, boundaries and rights."
The program, known as the 'Enhanced Assess Acknowledge Act Sexual Assault Resistance Program' (EAAA), has been in development for over 10-years by Charlene Senn of the University of Windsor. A year after completing the training, 23 women in the EAAA program reported having been raped, compared to 42 in the group that browsed brochures on rape prevention. Researchers found 46% fewer rapes and 63% fewer attempted rapes in the group that followed the training program.
Senn said, "We found that the one-year risk of completed rape was significantly lower for the women in the EAAA resistance group than in the control group. What this means in practical terms is that enrolling 22 women in the EAAA resistance program would prevent one additional rape from occurring. The program is the first developed in North America to show some success against preventing rape beyond a few months. Only the perpetrators of rape can stop their actions and women should not be blamed for sexual assaults on them. What this shows us is that, while we wait for effective programs for men or for cultural shifts in attitudes to happen, there is something practical we can do to give young women the tools they need to better protect themselves from sexual assault."
The findings are published in the New England Journal of Medicine