Campus-Based Prevention of Sexual Assault

The White House Task Force to Protect Students:

A Model for Comprehensive Campus-Based Prevention

of Sexual Assault and Other Forms of Gender-Based Violence

Since 1993 the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program (MVP) based out of Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society has addressed sexual assault and domestic violence at over 150 universities nationwide. As referenced in the White House Task Force, the bystander model is “among the most promising” methods to engage men and women on college campuses around gender violence issues. MVP introduced the bystander approach as a strategy to combat relationship violence and sexual assault. One of the first programs to engage men into these conversations, MVP believes men and women need to work together to end gender violence on college campuses. By empowering men and women through our unique bystander approach to prevention, MVP enables campus communities to stand up against all forms of gender based violence.

MVP trainings are a series of highly interactive facilitated discussions, not lectures. They provide concrete tools for confronting, interrupting and preventing gender based violence. Research has shown that the more options a person has available to them, the more likely they are to non-violently intervene. As referenced in the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, MVP is a “skill- building curricula” that actively addresses sexual consent. Our curriculum uses a Playbook that prepares participants through customized and relevant scenarios, based on Dr. Ronald Slaby’s Habits of Thought Model. Each scenario corresponds to a theme, such as Alcohol and Sexual Assault or Sexual Harrassment and can be utilized in hour formats for various service populations, such as Greek life members or collegiate athletes.

Comprehensive Implementation of MVP: White House Recommendations

As seen in the graph below, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault advises colleges and universities to utilize a prevention method that targets several levels of campus life, in order to achieve the greatest and most lasting impact and create a true cultural shift around gender based violence. MVP trainings target every level, from the individual to the local community, in order to establish a sustainable and effective change in thinking, and tailors the curriculum to address each population or college specifically.

Individual Level: As the program that introduced Bystander Education to the sexual assault prevention field, the  MVP training empowers bystanders to react and intervene in a safe and effective way when they witness any form of gender based violence.

Peer/Partner Level: The MVP curriculum can be broken into modules that can be implemented in shorter teachable moments, such as athletic team trips, Residence Life forums, or Greek life risk management policy meetings. The different modules address issues such as hyper-masculinity and heteronormativity, healthy and consensual relationships, and socialized gender violence in culturally relevant ways.

Organization Level: After receiving MVP training, the campus peers and leaders are ready to implement campus-wide change by training their students, athletes and co-workers. Trainers are prepare to engage them in promoting the MVP message of bystander empowerment and crafting new, positive cultural norms on campus.

Community Level: MVP facilitates a collaborative model that convenes campus leaders with local crisis centers and law enforcement to support college initiatives in cultural shifts around gender based violence. Through this collaboration resources are shared, students have a broader support network, and the bystander intervention extends beyond campus.


Interdisciplinary Training Teams: Building a Community Approach Using a Sustainable Model

Colleges and universities should identify campus leaders from several different campus organizations to be trained as MVP facilitators. The image on the left highlights important groups to include in the initial MVP three-day training institute. After completing their institute, participants are certified in the curriculum and prepared to spread MVP on their campus, by identifying student leaders and training them. With this Train the Trainer model, a network of trained individuals can impact the college in a sustainable fashion by establishing their own specific, on campus MVP trainings.