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Charlene Senn
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Current Research Program

Sexual Assault Resistance Education for University Women

The Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act (EAAA) Sexual Assault Resistance Program – Knowledge Mobilization and Implementation

RCT Research Team

RCT Research Team: (back row) Misha Eliasziw, Billie Thurston, Ian Newby-Clark, Paula Barata; (front row) Charlene Senn, Karen Hobden, Lorrie Radtke

A randomized controlled trial (RCT) funded by a 2011-2016 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Operating grant) evaluated the efficacy of the EAAA Sexual Assault Resistance program on three Canadian university campuses.  Over 900 women were randomly assigned to receive either the EAAA intervention (resistance group) or brief exposure to brochures (control group). Women’s experiences of sexual assault were assessed before the intervention and again at one week, 6, 12, 18, and (for half the sample) 24 months after the intervention. Compared to women in the control group, women in the resistance group were 46% less likely to have experienced a completed rape and 63% less likely to have experienced an attempted rape in the year following the intervention.

The results of this research were published in the June 11, 2015 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. A three-minute video describing the study results can be viewed on NEJMs website.

The full study protocol as well as a description of the baseline sample was published in separate issues of BMC’s Women’s Health, BMC Women's Health.2013, 13:25.  DOI: 10.1186/1472-6874-13-25 and BMC Women's Health 2014, 14:135  doi:10.1186/s12905-014-0135-4, respectively.

The EAAA program is the culmination of over 10 years of research, development and pilot testing. The initial Assess, Acknowledge, Act (AAA) program was carefully designed to reduce woman-blaming/self-blaming attitudes and beliefs and succeeds in achieving that goal (see Senn, Gee, & Saunders, 2008). The program was recently evaluated in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in which the one-year incidence of completed and attempted rape was reduced by 46% and 63% respectively, for women who took the EAAA intervention compared to women in the control group. 
The EAAA is now available to universities and colleges through the SARE Centre non-profit and a Train-the-Trainer model. See for more detail.Windsor RCT RAs


Windsor Program Facilitators Rochelle Palmer, Rochelle Stevenson, & Jocelyn Nikita with Charlene Senn
NEW Grant (2016-2020) and Next Steps

I (with co-investigators Barata, Radtke, Eliasziw, Thurston & McVey and collaborator Deb Chard, Wen-Do Women’s Self Defence) have received funding from the CIHR to study the implementation and scale-up of the EAAA program on Canadian university campuses. This research will determine the impact of decisions that campuses make in how to recruit participants and deliver the program as well as a number of other factors in maintenance of the fidelity and effectiveness of the program.

Over the past year I developed, piloted, and revised a Train the Trainer workshop to which universities, colleges, and community groups can send staff to become EAAA Campus/Community Trainers. Once trained, these Trainers will be qualified (with some support from SARE Centre and Wen-Do) to train EAAA Program Facilitators to deliver the EAAA intervention on their campuses or in their communities.

For universities involved in the research, the Train the Trainer workshops will be offered annually. For universities wishing to implement but who cannot (e.g., U.S.) or do not wish to be part of the research, the Train the Trainer workshops will be offered through the SARE Centre, a nonprofit organization I recently founded to support the implementation of the EAAA program in postsecondary institutions across North America.
SARE Meeting

RCT Windsor Research Team Meeting:  (from left) Sandra Gotovac (RA), Ashlyne O'Neil (RA), Jocelyn Nikita (Site Coordinator), Karen Hobden (Trial Manager), Charlene Senn (PI), Michelle Krieger (RA)

Bystander Initiative:  Sexual Assault Prevention

In collaboration with Dr. Anne Forrest, Director of Women's Studies, I have evaluated the effectiveness of our campus Bystander Initiative to Mitigate Sexual Assault on Campus (BI) (see on the undergraduate students who take a 3-hr adaptation of the University of New Hampshire’s Bringing in the Bystander® workshop (see Senn & Forrest, 2015). In 2010, we began conducting a campus wide survey annually and will continue it until 2020. We will use this survey to evaluate whether our institutionalization model (See Senn & Forrest, forthcoming; Senn & Forrest, 2013) succeeds in producing a campus climate change.

Women’s Experiences with Pornography

I recently co-authored a chapter with Ana Bridges on this topic (Bridges, Senn & Andrews, 2013). Continuing an interest from early in my career, I continue to be interested in co-designing studies with my students exploring the intersections between pornography and other media and male violence against women.