Fraternity Anti-violence Education Project, West Chester, PA


Contact Name: Deborah Mahlstedt
Phone Number: (610) 436-3523 or (610) 436-2945
E-mail: dmahlstedt@wcupa.edu
Key Words: (1) Male only and mixed-gender; (2) college age; (3) racially diverse; (4) university setting; (5) multiple-session, curriculum-based training and one-time workshops
Population served
This project serves college-aged men in fraternities. Programs are typically delivered in a male-only environment but can be adapted to a mixed-gender environment.
Medium used to convey message
The program incorporates small-group discussion, role plays, and handouts using the Fraternity Violence Education curriculum. The first semester is a detailed classroom session in which the men participate in various activities to develop an understanding of the issue. The second semester requires the men to co-lead discussions and seminars in the fraternities.
Goals, objectives, and desired outcomes
The goals of the program are for men to educate other men about violence against women; to assist men with developing the leadership skills necessary to confront this social problem; to create an atmosphere in which there is opportunity for ongoing dialogue among men about sexual violence; to have men take responsibility for the fact that some men do rape and beat women; to offer young men a safe, structured setting to explore difficult issues—masculinity, sexism, sexual assault—without fear of being blamed; to challenge the attitudes and dispel the myths that perpetuate sexism and violence against women; to provide young men with knowledge about the causes of violence against women; and to examine the causes of violence toward women in a context of male institutional power that has allowed men to “get away with” sexual violence.
Theoretical/ scientific basis for the approach
The curriculum is based on specific ideas about social change, including that it is a slow, complex process; it is best facilitated by members of the group that is seeking or needing change; and it requires that change take place on an institutional, group, and individual level. The curriculum is based on the idea that a safe place to examine one’s feelings, beliefs, and behaviors connected to oppression is crucial.
Level of evaluation
The program has been in existence since 1989. It has been evaluated rigorously. A report of the evaluation findings will be ready for publication in spring 2003.
Staff capacity
Peer leaders are recruited through the fraternity system and must take two semesters of classes to be qualified as trainers/presenters.