Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Sexual Assault Prevention Programs for College Men: An Exploratory Evaluation of the Men against Violence Model

Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Sexual Assault Prevention Programs for College Men: An Exploratory Evaluation of the Men against Violence Model

Article excerpt

This article describes an exploratory evaluation of a rape prevention program targeted toward fraternity members. The program is based on the Men Against Violence (L. Hong, 2000a) model, which emphasizes the association between male role socialization and sexual aggression. Implications for college counselors who conduct rape prevention programs are provided.

Rape is a significant problem on college campuses, with 20%-27% of collegiate women reporting an experience that meets the legal definition of rape (Douglas et al., 1997; Koss & Cook, 1998). Even though women perceive their risk of being raped by a stranger as much higher than being raped by an acquaintance, date, or partner (Nurius, Norris, Dimeff, & Graham, 1996), most campus rapes are committed by someone the survivor knows. In a recent study by the National Institute of Justice, reported by Fisher, Cullen, and Turner (2000), 9 of 10 attempted or completed campus rapes were acquaintance rapes. Alarming as they are, the statistics for acquaintance and date rape may actually be underreported because women are reluctant to label their experiences as rape, may fear retaliation, or may be concerned that their claims will not be taken seriously by campus administration and the legal system (Davis & Liddell, 2002; Fisher et al., 2000).

Most colleges and universities have implemented prevention efforts designed to reduce the prevalence of acquaintance and date rapes on campus, and college counselors can serve an important role in these efforts (Frazier, Valtinson, & Candell, 1994). The majority of rape prevention programs are targeted toward women, and they include risk-reduction and self-defense classes, environmental changes to promote increased campus safety, and victim-advocacy programs (Hong, 2000b). Several authors, however, call for an approach to prevention that focuses on men, the potential perpetrators of acquaintance and date rape (Berg, Lonsway, & Fitzgerald, 1999; Berkowitz, 1994; Davis & Liddell, 2002; Hong, 2000b). Although both men and women may be victims of sexual assault, men are far more likely to be perpetrators of all forms of sexual violence (Koss & Cook, 1998; Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998). College men are more likely than college women to view sexually coercive behavior as acceptable (Hattery-Freetly & Kane, 1995; Haworth-Hoeppner, 1998) or to accept rape myths that blame the victim and allow the perpetrator to deny responsibility (Burt, 1991).

In response to the call for a transformed focus regarding prevention, college counselors and other student affairs professionals have recently implemented all-male date and acquaintance rape prevention programs for many groups on campus (e.g., Berg et al., 1999; Lonsway et al., 1998; Shultz, Sherman, & Marshall, 2000). An increasing number of programs have specifically targeted fraternity men, due to factors of fraternity life that put members at risk for sexually coercive behavior (Davis & Liddell, 2002; Foubert, 2000; Foubert & Marriott, 1997; Foubert & McEwen, 1998). In the paragraphs that follow, important components of date and acquaintance rape prevention programs designed for fraternity audiences are described. Next an evaluation of a peer-led educational program for fraternity men is presented.

Prevention Programs for Fraternity Men

Fraternities have been identified as organizations that often serve to reinforce rape-supportive attitudes and behaviors because of their traditional view of masculinity and their endorsement of rape myths (Berkowitz, 1994; Boeringer, 1999; Boswell & Spade, 1999; Lackie & deMan, 1997; Martin & Hummer, 1998; Schwartz & DeKeseredy, 1997). Recent prevention programs for fraternity men have addressed these risk factors by confronting men's acceptance of rape myths, increasing men's awareness of the legal definitions of rape, and emphasizing male socialization experiences. …

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