It is a rare opportunity when a government minister requests a presentation on your research. That is exactly the experience of Charlene Senn, PhD, Canada Research Chair, and Professor in the Applied Social Psychology Graduate Program within the Department of Psychology and Women's & Gender Studies program, when Federal Health Minister, the Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor was in Windsor recently.
The Minister asked Dr. Senn to present on her Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act (EAAA) sexual assault resistance program, which has been celebrated for its success as the only sexual assault intervention that is effective in reducing the sexual violence women students experience. The program is being adopted on university campuses across North America.
“It was a great pleasure to meet with the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, her staff, and other Members of Parliament,” commented Dr. Senn. “It was a rare opportunity to discuss the effective sexual violence education program I developed with a Health Minister and was even more meaningful to me given this Minister’s past work experience working with victims of violence.”
The EAAA program is geared toward first-year university students because it is a period of time where students face the highest risk for sexual assault. It empowers young, self-identified women to trust their judgment and overcome social pressures to be “nice” when their sexual integrity is threatened.
Students attend four, three-hour units enhanced to provide a positive environment for young women to explore their relationship values and sexual desires and empower them with knowledge and skills to:
Assess – Recognize risk cues for sexual violence in situations and in men’s behaviour.
Acknowledge – Identify and overcome personal obstacles to prioritizing their own sexual rights in acquaintance situations.
Act – Develop a toolbox of effective strategies to defend their bodies and boundaries.
"We need to provide young women with the best knowledge available so that if they are confronted by an acquaintance who is attempting to sexually coerce or sexually assault them they are able to get out of that situation with the least amount of harm possible and know that no matter what happens it is never their fault," said Senn.
The efficacy of this intervention was demonstrated recently in a CIHR-funded randomized controlled trial in which the one-year incidence of completed rape was reduced by almost 50% in women who took the intervention compared to those in the control group. The EAAA program decreases the sexual violence women experience for at least two years after completing the program.
This means that for every 13 women enrolled in EAAA, 1 attempted or completed rape is prevented during the next year.
For more information about this program contact info@SAREcentre.org