Giving Compass' Take:
- A new report from It’s On Us, an organization dedicated to preventing campus sexual assault, highlights gaps in men's awareness and education of sexual assault and violence.
- How can these reports help inform education policy on sexual assault and consent education training?
- Learn more about college institutions and sexual assault.
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Male college students aren’t aware of the extent of sexual violence on campus and feel separated from its effects, according to researchers who interviewed young men for a new report from It’s On Us, an organization dedicated to preventing campus sexual assault.
Despite this, a majority of men on campus wanted to help but felt ill-prepared because of a lack of substantive training. Most received at least one training on gender-based violence in college, but respondents called the experience ineffective, boring and disconnected.
Overwhelmingly, the men interviewed were more likely to be empathetic and act to stop sexual assault if they have strong female role models or friends, or if someone in their family or immediate social circle survived sexual assault.
Colleges often require students to undergo some form of sexual assault prevention training as a condition of enrollment. But the trainings tend to be digital and outsourced to an external company. The surveyed students said trainings felt too generic and irrelevant, with examples that were not reflective of their experience.
“The topic deserves my respect, but the way they teach it … it’s just easy to dismiss. It’s not something a lot of people take seriously,” one Northwestern University student told researchers.
The report recommends administrators implement creative training methods instead of offering one-size-fits-all modules. Ohio State University invited a comedian to do a stand-up routine for students about mental health and sexual assault, an event that was well attended and engaging, according to a surveyed Ohio State student. Hearing from an influential member of the campus community or a peer also proved to be more engaging.
Training should be held in person whenever possible and focus on combatting sexual violence stereotypes, the report said. These stereotypes are part of what makes male students feel removed from the issue.
Respondents at smaller colleges said sexual violence was a bigger issue at larger institutions with Greek life. And men at colleges within other towns or communities viewed non-students who live near campus as more dangerous than other students.
Read the full article about campus sexual assault by Laura Spitalniak at Higher Education Dive.