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A review of the literature within the field of violence against women suggests that little has been done that has resulted in effective, consistent, measurable prevention.
However, an examination of the outcome/evaluation research does provide some clear indicators of prevention strategies that have not been effective. For example, a meta-analysis of sexual assault education programs conducted by Anderson and Whiston in 2005 found that historical awareness/education programming have not resulted in a reduction of sexual violence. One-time only educational programs, large-scale events and the dissemination of printed educational materials – are not effective means to reduce violence. Traditional program content, including facts, statistics, myths/facts, and definitions have also failed to demonstrate a decrease in violence. These types of approaches have demonstrated some success at increasing basic knowledge, some lesser success at improving violence-related attitudes, particularly in the short term, and increasing utilization of direct services (Anderson & Whiston, 2005). There is little to support prevention programming that focuses exclusively on risk reduction targeting women, and there has been little demonstrated effectiveness in approaching all men as potential perpetrators with messages related to obtaining consent. While there are clear indicators of what not to do, there is an absence of demonstrated effective prevention programming available within the violence against women literature. However, the research gleaned from an examination of outside disciplines provides theoretical and empirical support for the proposed model here.
The social diffusion theory (Rogers, 1983) is based on the premise that behavior change in a population can be initiated and then will diffuse to others if enough natural and influential opinion leaders within the population visibly adopt, endorse and support an innovative behavior. Based on this model, popular opinion leaders (POLS) of any given population are systematically identified, recruited, and trained to serve as behavior change “endorsers” within their community and sphere of influence, resulting in a shift in the targeted attitudes and behaviors within that community. In other words, opinion leaders shape social/behavior changes by making it easier for others to initiate and maintain certain “new” behaviors.
Within the field of Social Psychology, there is decades of research documenting basic principles of bystander behavior that have a broad impact on individual and group choices. This body of research seeks to understand why individuals choose to intervene or remain passive when they are in the role of a bystander in a potentially risky, dangerous or emergency situation.
There is a growing body of research that gives insight into the behaviors and patterns of perpetrators. Research on batterers demonstrates the mechanisms most often used to exert power and control over a target – from the earliest warning signs to the most extreme forms of violence (Johnson et al., 2006). Literature examining the behaviors of sexual offenders, particularly offenders known to the victim, give profound and clear insight into their patterns – including how they target, assess, and isolate a victim. (Lisak & Roth, 1988; Lisak & Miller, 2002).
Rebranding of corporations, organizations and services is a process that has been well examined and documented within marketing research. A smart rebranding strategy allows an entity the chance to meet the needs of consumers and investors, and is most often prompted by a gap between the espoused brand, and the actual brand image that others may have (Davies and Chun, 2002) or underperformance toward meeting the organizations goals (Kapferer, 1997).
At Green Dot, etcetera, our work goes beyond the Green Dot program itself. As leaders in violence prevention, we provide training, technical assistance, and program development for individuals, schools, and organizations both domestically and internationally as they work to foster safe communities. We are proud to be a technical assistance provider for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women Campus Program. To learn more about that initiative, please visit our OVW Technical Assistance section.
We are collaborating with Hollaback to support their amazing efforts to address street harassment. To learn more about Street Harassment and how you can do your part to reduce it, check out ihollaback.org.