by Rishika Gupta on  July 27, 2018 at 10:52 AM Health Watch
  • In Nairobi’s slums, where rape and sexual assault is common and is taboo to discuss, world famous Statisticians are fighting to keep these girls safe.
  • Four causal pathways were designed to prevent the physical assault and its efficiency is being tested in this study by Mike Baiocchi and his team.
  • The training was given based on these aspects- situational awareness, empowerment, training in verbal skills and art of Physical self defence.

Statisticians adamant on finding a solution to the devastating number of rapes occurring in Nairobi's poorest schools. Lead Statistician Mike Baiocchi had partnered with Clea Sarnquist to understand the problem of what is actually happening and why are the girls not raising an alarm. They need to understand the mental depth of the problem and then find a solution to it.

All this in turn will also help the NGO, funders, policymakers understand what is working and then put their limited resources to where they will have the largest impact.
Rape Cases in Nairobi Now a Problem That Statisticians can Solve

Another widely praised statistician Brad Efron, was the one who understood the huge complexity of the rape occurrences, when he first heard about the horrific prevalence of rape in Nairobi's poorest schools, his first thought was to get Mike Baiocchi to help them as to him it required more than statistical help--it required "angelic" intervention.

Lee Paiva, the founder of "No Means No Worldwide", a non governmental organization in San Francisco was trying to find a solution to these problems that were becoming more complex everyday. She said in a Stanford Medicine article that "it just wasn't enough to tell funders how many children had been through the program. "What did those kids actually get?" "What is that money really going to do? And in that moment, I knew--I'm not doing this anymore until I absolutely know what that child got out of this."

5,000 girls in 28 schools were involved in the first trial. The trail basically circled around the theory behind the training, which were based on four causal pathways to prevent the assault.

They were trained in 4 aspects and they are

  • The first was situational awareness which involved training girls to quickly analyze and be aware of the common scenarios perpetrators use, keeping in mind the physical and social resources available to these perpetrators.
  • The second was empowerment, which meant that the girls had to understand that they are "worth it". It had to be instilled in them by means a few exercises that they have the right to have their will heard and get it registered to others in situations like these.
  • The third Involved training in verbal skills. It was mainly focused on how to be heard, what needs to be shout out to be heard immediately, specifics on the tone and the social constructs to use were also taught in detail.
  • Fourthly, there taught the art of Physical self defence which was mix of Krav Maga and Brazilian jujitsu.
    • The results were striking, it was happening as what they had seen in a specific observational study which cut the rate of sexual assault in half.

      At the same time, a multiyear randomized trial of a similar sexual assault intervention program for college-age women was being done at Windsor University by a group of Canadian researchers, there they had also found that a particular approach was working and rates of rape had been cut in half there too.

      This almost equal level of success between two very different populations and environments meant that the intervention programs and the underlying theory behind the training was really working for the girls.

      "Our first randomized trial showed strong evidence that the empowerment pathway seems to work as the theory proposes," says Baiocchi. "But they needed bigger and more complex trial to drill down, and that would be expensive."

      U.K.'s Department for International Development (DfID) was able to help on this front with the investment as its global program focused on girls and women and What Works to Prevent Violence.

      Now with the financial support of DfID, Baiocchi and his team is able to work with more than 100 schools now and is now able to assess their experience over time. This way they can find some casual pathways and also look at the durability of the training and it's effect.

      "If the girls are trained once, does that training last for years?" asks Baiocchi. "Or is a 'booster' program needed to keep the skills effective?"

      The team will also measure academic outcomes of the experiment, to ee whether the program has additional benefits apart from freedom from sexual assault. Something that would help Kenyan Ministry of Education.

      Source: Medindia

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