What Fuels Sexual Violence and How Can We Stop It?
Note: You can listen to the "Safe Living Today" podcast episode for this blog post by clicking the audio player below.
What fuels sexual violence?
Let’s begin by looking at high school males. According to a study led by researchers from the School of Public Health, Georgia State University, nearly one in five, about 20%, of male freshmen admitted to committing one or more acts of sexual violence prior to entering college.
These 20% of male students reported frequent use of sexually explicit media, binge drinking, and strong masculine beliefs. They tended to associate with friends who had similar behavior patterns and beliefs about sexual violence through their high school years.
On the positive side, the study found young men with knowledge of what constitutes consent and who had a strong sense of family were less likely to commit sexual violence before entering college.
The study involved 1,133 male freshmen between 18 and 24 years of age. Thirty different four-year colleges across Georgia participated in the study. The research timeframe included the fall semester of 2013, and the spring and fall 2014 semesters.
Implications of Study
Federal law requires universities and colleges receiving government student aid to provide sexual violence prevention programs.
As the study notes:
However, these policies do not take into consideration that many college freshmen already may have engaged in sexual violence before matriculation,", the researchers said. "For these policies and programming to be effective, more tailored prevention efforts, which incorporate assessments of incoming freshmen's precollege sexual violence experiences along with associated risk and protective behaviors and attitudes, are needed."
Action Needed to Help Stop Sexual Violence
While the call for, “…assessments of incoming freshmen’s precollege sexual violence experiences…” is laudable, how many male high school students are going to put on their application, “I committed sexual violence” or admit to that behavior during conversations with college representatives?
I suggest a society-wide comprehensive approach that creates sexual abuse prevention and human kindness programs in high schools and middle schools. These middle and high school programs could focus on why it's vital to treat others with dignity and respect.
Both male and female students would benefit from programs emphasizing respect based beliefs, behaviors, and boundaries that support the best interests and future wellbeing of students through high school, college, and onward through their adult lifetimes.
Where to Begin
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers a good resource that can help schools, communities, and organizations establish effective prevention programs.
You’ll find, “Stop SV: a Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence”, by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/SV-Prevention-Technical-Package.pdf.
Download the CDC resource and use it to support conversations and actions in your community. You can truly make a difference by helping to stop sexual violence and creating a supportive, kind community of respect.
FREA is Here to Help
Here at FREA, we are happy to consult with those who would like to include self-care techniques as part of prevention and recovery programs. You can reach us through the, “Contact” menu tab on our website at www.FREA.support.
Stephen Carter is a former Chief of Police, Corporate Security Director and safely leader for one of the world's largest financial services companies. He is now the CEO of Stress Solutions, LLC, a company dedicated to helping people enhance physical and emotional wellbeing through stress mastery using mind-body methods. He is the host of the, "Safe Living Today" Internet radio show and podcast.
Audio Podcast Episode for This Post: Click Player:
References and resources for this post:
“Porn, alcohol, peers linked to sexual assault by male college freshmen”; https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-06-porn-alcohol-peers-linked-sexual.html#nRlv.
Laura F. Salazar et al. Precollege Sexual Violence Perpetration and Associated Risk and Protective Factors Among Male College Freshmen in Georgia, Journal of Adolescent Health (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.09.028
Sexual Violence: Prevention Strategies; Centers for Disease Control; https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/prevention.html