This statement, from a male student-athlete at the conclusion of one of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) training sessions affirms what this organization has long believed: teaching sexual violence prevention to leaders can be a transformative experience for them if done correctly. The question that many have struggled with is, “What exactly is the right way?”
The Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Program, founded in 1993 by Sport in Society at Northeastern University, motivates athletes and leaders to play a central role in solving problems that historically have been considered “women’s issues” including: rape, battering, and sexual harassment. MVP was one of the first programs to actively engage men and to use the bystander approach as a strategy to address gender based violence. The MVP Program motivates men and women to work together in preventing men’s violence against women. Utilizing this innovative bystander approach to prevention, men and women take back the power and shed stigma often associated with bystanders. This empowers bystanders to stand up against all forms of relationship violence.
Participants learn to serve as role models working to prevent violence and confront abusive peers. The approach does not involve finger pointing, nor does it blame participants for the widespread problems of gender violence. Instead, it sounds a positive call for proactive, preventive behavior, and leadership. Working to prevent sexual violence is an essential social justice issue that all societal leaders and administrators need to address. MVP provides an evidence based strategy to combat this violence.
MVP has been implemented with the following groups and organizations:
The National Football League, New Balance, The World Cup, The US Army, Major League Baseball teams, and over 150 universities