Dr. Anne Forrest and Dr. Charlene Senn are working with Student and International Affairs in an effort to prevent sexual assault and mitigate its consequences on the University of Windsor campus. This project is funded by the UWindsor Strategic Priority Initiative.
The Bringing in the Bystander™ training program, developed by Mary Mohnihan, Victoria Banyard, and Elizabeth Plante at the University of New Hampshire, encourages student-participants to see themselves as potential bystanders who could intervene and stop an assault before it happens. Students learn the importance of speaking out against social norms that support sexual assault and coercion, how to recognize and safely interrupt situations that could lead to sexual assault, and how to be an effective and supportive ally to survivors. Ours is the first Canadian campus to use the program and it will be implemented in a unique way: using a Faculty of Arts and Social Science two course sequence to train peer facilitators. These peer facilitators will provide the program to first year students.
Both sexual assault and sexual coercion are common occurrences on university and college campuses across North America. One in four women students experiences rape or attempted rape during post-secondary education. Contrary to popular assumptions, young women are most likely to be raped by young men known to them, in social situations on and off campus.
The effectiveness of the Bystander training program will be evaluated in two interconnected research studies. The first is a 5-year project in collaboration with Mohnihan and Banyard which began in fall 2010. The purpose is to gather information about students’ sexual experiences and views of their campus community to determine the impact of the Bystander training on campus climate. The second project, which begins fall 2011, will follow the first year students who receive the training to investigate how they are changed by the program and how they put their knowledge about intervening to interrupt sexual assault into practice.
For more information, contact:
Bystander Initiative to Mitigate Sexual Assault
c/o Women's Studies
University of Windsor
401 Sunset Ave.
Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4
Phone: General inquiries, contact Danielle Reaume at (519) 253-3000 ext. 2315
Phone: Research-related inquiries, contact Dr. Charlene Senn at (519) 253-3000 ext. 2255
Fax: (519) 561-1403