Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Sex Assault Research Demands Attention

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Sex Assault Research Demands Attention

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Sex assault research demands attention

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An editorial from the Guelph Mercury, published June 15:

Victims should never be considered responsible in any way for the crimes to which they're subjected. That's why many people will recoil against the suggestion that sexual assaults can be reduced by training potential victims to avoid them.

However, evidence gathered by researchers at the University of Guelph and two other Canadian universities makes a compelling case that training young women on how to guard themselves against sexual assault can, in fact, make them safer.

Hundreds of first-year female students at the schools received intensive training on how to reduce their risk of rape -- particularly so-called "acquaintance rape." In a 12-hour program, they were shown how to forcefully shut down unwanted advances and to do such things as to keep doors open when spending time in a room with a male. They also received self-defence training.

Meanwhile, another group of first-year female students were offered only brochure-type education on this material. Then, a year later, both groups were surveyed as to whether they had experienced rape, other sexual assault or attempts to commit these offences against them in the intervening period.

The results offered statistically significant evidence that the better-trained women were far more unlikely to be victims of rape or attempted rape.

The jarring study, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, has led to suggestions that this type of teaching should be rolled out much more widely and even be considered as an addition to secondary school curriculum. …

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