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Bystander Initiative to Mitigate Sexual Assault
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Empowering Student Bystanders

CrowdDr. Anne Forrest and Dr. Charlene Senn are working with Student 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® In Person Prevention workshop, 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 Bringing in the Bystander® In Person Prevention workshops 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 workshop 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 Bringing in the Bystander® In Person Prevention workshop will be evaluated in two interconnected research studies. The first is a 10-yr project in collaboration with Banyard (and in early years Mohnihan) 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 Bringing in the Bystander® In Person Prevention workshops on campus climate. The second project, which began in the fall of 2012, follows the students who receive the workshop to investigate how they are changed by the intervention and how they put their knowledge about intervening to interrupt sexual assault into practice in the 5 months that follow the workshops.  This article is forthcoming in Psychology of Violence.

Empowering Student Bystanders Info Sheet (pdf)

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