Monday, January 19, 2015

Shouldn’t we be putting all our resources into prevention strategies focused on perpetrators?

From Women’s Self-Defense Frequently Asked Questions. Jocelyn A. Hollander, Ph.D. University of Oregon, September 15, 2014.
  • No. Violence against women is a complex social problem. Ultimately, large scale social changes will be needed before violence against women can be stopped. However, this kind of social change is slow—and so far, our efforts have not been very successful. If we focus only on perpetrator-focused, “primary” prevention strategies, we are condemning millions of women to suffering rape and sexual assault. While we wait for these efforts to work, empowerment-based self-defense training can provide an immediate, and effective, antidote for sexual violence.
  • There has been little research on the effectiveness of prevention strategies focused on potential perpetrators. Most strategies that have been rigorously evaluated have been found to be ineffective at preventing violence.
  • Preventing sexual violence will require a comprehensive range of efforts. Some efforts should be long-­term (e.g., cultural climate assessment and change), others should be medium-­term (e.g., bystander intervention training), and some should be short-­term (e.g., self-­defense training). We do not have to choose only one approach; a complex social problem requires that we address it on multiple fronts and in multiple ways.


Gidycz, Christine A et al. n.d. “Concurrent administration of sexual assault prevention and risk reduction programming: Outcomes for women.” Violence Against Women. In press.

Gidycz, Christine A, and Christina M. Dardis. 2014. “Feminist Self-­‐Defense and Resistance Training for College Students A Critical Review and Recommendations for the Future.”Trauma, Violence, & Abuse 1524838014521026.

Orchowski, Lindsay M, Christine A Gidycz, and M J Murphy. 2010. “Preventing campus-­‐based sexual violence.” Pp. 415–447 in The Prevention of Sexual VIolence: A Practitioner’s Sourcebook, edited by K L Kaufman. Holyoke, MA: NEARI Press.

Breitenbecher, K. H., and M. Scarce. 1999. “A Longitudinal Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Sexual Assault Education Program.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 14(5):459–478.

Hollander, Jocelyn A. 2014. “Does Self-­‐Defense Training Prevent Sexual Violence Against Women?” Violence Against Women 20(3):252–269.

Sarnquist, Clea et al. 2014. “Rape Prevention Through Empowerment of Adolescent Girls.”Pediatrics peds.2013– 3414.

Sinclair, Jake et al. 2013. “A Self-­‐Defense Program Reduces the Incidence of Sexual Assault in Kenyan Adolescent Girls.” Journal of Adolescent Health 53(3):374–380.

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