New Orleans YWCA Rape Crisis Program, New Orleans, LA

Website
Key Words: (1) Mixed gender and male only; (2) elementary, middle, and high school age; (3) racially diverse; (4) community-based setting; (5) one-time workshop
Population served
This community-based program targets a racially diverse group of men, women, boys, and girls, ages 5 and up. Some community education presentations are made to single-gender audiences, such as students at all-male high schools. Program participants also include survivors of sexual trauma, the general public, and loved ones of survivors. The program is delivered to approximately 1,500 to 2,000 participants per month. These participants come to the program via self-referral, referrals from health care providers, child protection referrals, court mandates, and referrals from schools.
Medium used to convey message
With older boys, the presentations are more conversational and may involve watching video vignettes. These presentations stress personal responsibility, understanding laws related to sexual violence, the obligation to stop if a partner says no, respect for self and partner, positive peer interaction such as refusing to take part in sexist or degrading jokes, removing oneself from inappropriate sexual activities or conversations, and helping peers understand sexual assault issues.
Goals, objectives, and desired outcomes
For the male-only programs, the goals are to raise awareness of the issue and identify healthy, viable options for expressing masculinity. The primary goal of the organization is to empower survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault and to assist in the healing process. Specific goals of the organization are to increase awareness of sexual trauma issues and resources for survivors and their loved ones. In general, the program provides crisis intervention, advocacy, therapy, and education. The all-male sessions provide education only.
Theoretical/ scientific basis for the approach
The intervention is based on feminist theory and the empowerment model.
Level of evaluation
This program has existed since 1974. Its success is documented through self-report by audience members following presentations. The program reports successes in quarterly and annual reports to funders, including the United Way.
Staff capacity
Highly trained professionals deliver the presentations. Most presenters have a master’s degree. All employees and volunteers must complete 24 hours of in-house training. The training materials and curriculum are approved by the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault. Although the program has no dedicated evaluator, staff members are each responsible for monthly statistical reports on their activities.
Due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the loss of two of the YWCA New Orleans buildings, all programs and services have been placed on hold. (updated September 2012)