RTI Report

Table of Contents IntroductionOverview of MethodologyDevelopment of Contact ListStakeholder InterviewsIdentified ProgramsOther Relevant ResourcesConclusionsReferences

Introduction

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded a task order contract to RTI International in September 2002 to identify programs designed to prevent first-time male perpetration of sexual violence and to provide evaluation assistance to a subset of these programs. This 3-year contract involves the following activities:

  • identify and characterize existing programs designed to prevent first-time male perpetration of sexual violence
  • develop an application and screening system to select a small group of programs that will receive technical assistance from RTI
  • conduct an “empowerment” evaluation with the programs selected through the application process

In this report, we describe findings from the first phase of this project, which involved identification of programs that target prevention of first-time male perpetration of sexual violence. In the next phase, four programs will be selected to participate in an empowerment evaluation that provides technical assistance.
Early efforts to deal with perpetration of rape often focused on secondary and tertiary activities that provided intervention for men who had already exhibited sexually violent behavior. Over the past decade, however, efforts have shifted from intervention following sexual violence to prevention of first-time male perpetration. To evaluate intermediate and long-term outcomes of these efforts, the prevention community needs to know about services offered by these programs, their target populations, and the types of data they collect. In issuing this task order, CDC has recognized the importance of using evidence-based programs and the need for rigorous evaluation of promising programs and approaches in dealing with the prevention of first-time male perpetration.
As a first step, RTI staff met with the CDC project officer to clarify the scope of materials to be included in the identification of existing programs designed to prevent first-time male perpetration of sexual violence. Information was gained from each of the following resources:

  • work products from another CDC task order to RTI
  • published literature that provides information on programs designed to prevent first-time male perpetration of sexual violence
  • key experts in the field of sexual assault prevention from government, state, local, and academic settings
  • key experts who work directly with men’s groups to prevent sexual assault, including grassroots, community-based organizations and other sexual violence advocates

In this report, we first describe the steps used to develop a list of contacts. The development of this list involved an assessment of existing literature about programs targeting sexual violence prevention and a review of previously established resource lists of key stakeholders working in the field. The next section of this report provides a description of the methods used to gather and maintain information from relevant contacts. An overview of identified programs is then offered, with detailed descriptions of programs provided in an appendix. The report concludes with recommendations drawn from the information gathered and the next steps for this project.

Overview of Methodology

The collection of information for this project took place over a 4-month period. We identified programs using several methods for gathering information. We first reviewed documents provided by CDC and existing information from published literature, other publications, and web sites. Findings from these documents provided the basis for an initial contact list. In our communications with contacts, we used a snowball sampling technique to ensure that promising grassroots, community-based programs and other programs that would not have surfaced through literature and document reviews were identified. This technique involved making the initial contact, obtaining information about the contact’s program, inquiring about other promising first-time male perpetration prevention programs from this initial contact, and then gathering information from recommended additional contacts. The information gathered from initial contacts and subsequent recommended contacts was tracked and compiled for this report. This approach was deemed the most feasible for collecting as much information as possible in a 4-month time span.

Development of Contact List

Literature Review
During the initial kickoff meeting, CDC staff recommended a reduction in time devoted to the proposed literature review. They noted that an extensive review would duplicate work being completed by RTI on the CDC-funded Evaluation of Block Grants for Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) study. The primary purpose of the RPE review was to provide CDC with a comprehensive summary of RPE program evaluation studies to identify those programs that are effective in increasing awareness of and subsequently reducing the incidence of sexual assault. This review provided some general conclusions regarding RPE-funded sexual violence prevention efforts that are important to note:

The RPE literature review focused on general sexual violence prevention programs that received RPE funds, including those addressing child sexual abuse and victim services. It was also restricted to programs with some level of evaluation. To assess additional literature on programs that targeted first-time male perpetration, RTI worked with MayaTech, a subcontractor, to conduct a literature search using slightly modified parameters from the RPE literature search. The goal of this search was to capture literature that would identify programs targeting prevention of first-time male perpetration, with no restrictions related to the presence of evaluation information or RPE funding.
As with the RPE literature review, web search engines were used to access on-line information. MayaTech conducted searches of such databases as the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) MEDLARS, EPIC, Dialog, and Westlaw. These databases provide an extensive range of information. For example, the EPIC databases include ERIC, PsychInfo, Sociological Abstracts, ArticleFinder, Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature, Newspaper Abstracts, and Periodical Abstracts.
As anticipated by CDC staff, we found a limited amount of literature on sexual violence prevention programs targeting first-time male perpetration. Our search yielded only five articles that were directly relevant to this project, with descriptions of programs targeting prevention of first-time male perpetration or other pertinent information. We excluded programs that did not have a specific focus on prevention of first-time male perpetration of sexual violence, such as those addressing general violence prevention or bullying prevention, or those identified in the RPE literature review. Some identified programs were the foci of dissertations. Many of these were investigated and found to be no longer in existence. Two of the remaining articles described the Mentors in Violence Prevention Project (Katz, 1995) and the White Ribbon Campaign (Kilmartin, 1996). Both of these programs were included in the identified programs and are described in this report. Three additional articles were also found that provided broader information on the issues of perpetration prevention (Becker & Reilly, 1999; Ryan, 1997; Wekerle & Wolfe, 1999). These articles present various theoretical approaches to sexual violence prevention, specifically among adolescents. Ryan (1997)notes the importance of addressing sexually violent behavior early in the lives of children, particularly those with prior exposure to maltreatment and at the greatest risk of exhibiting sexually violent behavior. Becker and Reilly (1999) discuss the public health approach to sexual violence, with a focus on prevention and intervention strategies and the role of alcohol. Finally, Wekerle and Wolfe (1999) provide a review of six programs that address adolescent dating violence. In the review, researchers noted changes in attitudinal and behavioral measures within community- and school-based programs.
Additional Contacts
In our initial meeting with the CDC project officer, CDC provided a resource file that included information on several male perpetration prevention programs and experts in the field of sexual violence. This contact information included most of the programs that were found in the literature review and was appended to the list developed from existing literature. We also obtained contact information for state-level organizations dealing with sexual violence prevention, such as injury prevention units, departments of health, and coalitions against sexual assault.
We used a snowball sampling technique to identify programs targeting prevention of first-time male perpetration of sexual violence. We made an initial contact and obtained information about the contact’s program. These contacts were also asked about other first-time male perpetration prevention programs, and information was gathered from the recommended contacts. We corresponded with individuals working in the field of sexual violence through numerous telephone calls and via e-mail. Contacts included RPE coordinators in various states, national sexual violence prevention agencies, researchers, community-based providers of male-focused sexual assault perpetration prevention programs, and others with relevant experience and expertise. Repeated mention of already-identified programs increased our confidence that we had identified most existing programs and/or the curricula being used by programs.

Stakeholder Interviews

Initial Contacts
Our initial telephone or e-mail contact with organizations involved a description of this project and a request for a general overview of their efforts in the area of prevention of first-time male perpetration of sexual violence. Program implementers were extremely forthcoming with information, and many sent reports, brochures, and videos describing their programs. We used these materials to begin compiling detailed information about programs targeting prevention of first-time male perpetration.
Exhibit 1 shows the type of information that we sought for each program. This detailed information covered a variety of domains, ranging from the population served to staff capacity. Much of this information was provided in the program implementers’ general description of program efforts, materials they sent to us, and data gathered from program web sites on the Internet.
Exhibit 1
Factor of Interest
Probes
Population served

  • Who are your program participants?
  • Do you provide single-gender, male-focused activities?
  • On average, how many new or ongoing participants receive exposure to your services each month?
  • Do you serve a racially/ethnically diverse population?
  • How are program participants identified/recruited?

Medium used to convey message

  • Please summarize your program efforts.
  • What activities/services does your program provide?
  • Do you use a specific curriculum? {If so,} please describe. {If not,} how do you structure what you do?

Goals, objectives, and desired outcomes

  • Why does your program exist, i.e., what are your program’s goals?
  • What results do you hope for or try to achieve among your program’s participants?
  • What are the most important services your program provides?

Theoretical/scientific basis for the approach

  • Is your program based on any type of theory or scientific research? {If so,} please describe.
  • How would you explain the success of your program?

Level of evaluation

  • How have the successes of your program been assessed?
  • How have the challenges of your program been assessed?
  • Do you have information describing the accomplishments of your program? {If so,} did this involve any external or internal evaluation? Is there an ongoing relationship with an evaluator?
  • How long has your program been in existence? {If program is more broad,} more specifically, how long has the prevention of male perpetration component been in existence?
  • Are there any contextual issues that have affected your program (e.g., political, economic, social)?

Staff capacity

  • Who delivers your program?
  • What type of training do program implementers receive?
  • Are there staff and resources available to assist with data collection for evaluation efforts?
  • How stable are the current funding streams for your program, specifically for the next 3 years?

Follow-Up Contacts and Semistructured Interviews
We were able to collect the majority of information needed from initial contacts, web sites, and documents describing programs. However, after organizing all of this information, a few programs did not have complete descriptions. We called or sent e-mail messages to seven programs to complete gaps in the information collected. These 30- to 45-minute semistructured interviews used open-ended questions to assess contacts’ knowledge about the existence of other programs focused on preventing first-time male perpetration, theoretical and design issues surrounding these programs, any evaluation information about the programs, and suggestions about gaps in current research and directions of future research in this topical area. The interviews were guided by the domains of interest shown in Exhibit 1.
We completed the literature review and semistructured interviews within 3 months of the contract award. This information provided the basis for the description of programs provided in the next section of this report.

Identified Programs

Our goal was to identify programs targeting prevention of first-time male perpetration of sexual violence, with a specific focus on programs working with a male audience. Programs with a mixed-gender audience were included if they had a male-targeted component or if there was an extensive level of evaluation that assessed gender differences. We gathered comprehensive information on 37 programs. The tables found in the appendix to this report provide detailed descriptions of each of the programs in terms of the six domains shown in Exhibit 1:

  • population served
  • medium used to convey the message
  • goals, objectives, and desired outcomes
  • theoretical/scientific basis for the approach
  • level of evaluation
  • staff capacity

Many of the programs we contacted acknowledged the importance of a male perpetration prevention focus in the area of sexual violence but did not feel that their current program fit the purview of this project. Several programs that did not have a male perpetration prevention focus requested the information gathered through the project, reinforcing the need for and importance of this effort.
The 37 identified programs had some degree of variation in the six domains of interest; however, we found commonalities that allowed us to group them based on their approaches. We categorized the programs into four major approaches:

  • multiple-session, curriculum-based prevention interventions
  • ongoing, open-forum discussion groups
  • one-time awareness/educational workshops
  • environmental change strategies

Descriptions of findings within each of the broad categories are provided in the following sections.
Multiple-Session, Curriculum-Based Prevention Interventions
Sixteen programs, particularly those working with adolescent males, use a multiple-session, curriculum-based approach. These programs range from two or three class periods to semester-long activities and are implemented with elementary- to college-aged participants. Programs with older adolescents or college-aged students are often led by peers who receive some form of curriculum training. There are varying levels of racial/ethnic diversity among participants, including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and various immigrant groups. Several of the programs have received grants from state and/or national governmental agencies or funding through an academic institution; however, many acknowledged the constant need to find new funding sources to ensure sustainability of their programs. At least two programs contacted were planning to discontinue their efforts because of a lack of ongoing funds.
In conversations with program implementers, we found that the following theoretical approaches or curricula were used as the basis for a large number of programs:

Each of these has been in existence for several years. Programs based on these curricula have had moderate to rigorous levels of evaluation. The majority of these program developers offer publications and conduct training/educational workshops describing their approaches to sexual violence prevention. The programs attempt to change the norms and cultural acceptance surrounding sexual violence by directly addressing male responsibility for their own actions as well as those of others. Their approaches range from single programs grounded in changing social norms regarding sexual violence based on Berkowitz’s work, to the Rosenbluth program, which uses a multipronged approach of classroom presentations, a structured support group curriculum for males at risk for violence, and school-based counseling.
Ongoing, Open-Forum Discussion Groups
Five programs use ongoing, open-forum discussion groups or mentor programs in their efforts to prevent first-time male perpetration of sexual violence. These programs primarily take place in college or university settings, with two of the five programs targeting middle and high school males. The open-forum discussion groups often use pieces of established curricula, such as Jackson Katz’s Tough Guise curriculum, or resources from national organizations, such as Men Can Stop Rape, to spark conversation within the groups.
One program director indicated that the open-forum approach provides a safe place for males to discuss a variety of topics pertaining to sexual violence without the need for the didactic approach often used with a structured curriculum. It was also noted, however, that this approach presents unique challenges for evaluation efforts because of the difficulty in operationalizing process and outcomes measures.
One-Time Awareness/Educational Workshops and Theatrical Performances
The 14 awareness/educational workshops are one-time programs, with a limited number having some type of booster session. These workshops often emphasize identification of societal definitions of masculinity and expectations of males, with challenges to males to deconstruct cultural views and change beliefs regarding women. As seen in the appendix, many of the college-based programs have created collaborations that enable them to reach large numbers of males through fraternities, athletic teams, or orientation sessions for first-year students. Several of these programs are grounded in curricula developed by John Foubert (the One in Four Program, the Men’s Program), with adaptations based on the specific needs of the program.
The use of theatrical performances is an innovative approach to prevention of sexual violence that has been adopted by some communities. We identified three programs that incorporate performances and discussion on the topic of sexual violence. Although these programs usually have mixed-gender audiences, they periodically perform for all-male groups or have a specified goal of changing beliefs around inappropriate male behavior in the area of sexual violence.
The majority of the awareness/educational workshops are local programs, although a few of the workshops and all of the theater groups present nationally. This one-time workshop approach to sexual violence prevention is frequently chosen by schools and communities with time constraints that do not allow for longer, curriculum-based programs. However, evaluation with these types of programs has often been limited to pre- and post-testing, with little longitudinal follow-up.
Environmental Change Strategies
Many of these previously described approaches are reinforced with environmental strategies that attempt to change a social climate characterized by acceptance or lack of active prevention of sexual violence. Strategies such as the White Ribbon Campaign and those used by Men Can Stop Rape (Strength Campaign, posters, media campaigns) work to raise the general public’s awareness about violence against women. The White Ribbon Campaign encourages men in Montreal to wear ribbons in remembrance of women who have been killed and also as a sign of protest of any violence against women. The Men Can Stop Rape program conducts media campaigns using posters and advertising to move individuals and groups from the passive role of bystander to the active role of social change agent against sexual violence. The program also provides workshops nationally that involve discussions, role plays, and exercises, with a focus primarily on exploring masculinity, manhood, and their relationship to violence toward both women and men.
Evaluation of environmental strategies has proven challenging in many domains of prevention, and sexual violence prevention is no exception. A minimal amount of evaluation of these strategies exists, with most using basic pre- and post-testing. Techniques continue to be developed to assess large-scale, societal changes in attitudes and behaviors resulting from media campaigns and other environmental change approaches.

Other Relevant Resources

In addition to program-specific information, we also identified organizations that provide large amounts of information on research, theory, and current practices in the area of sexual violence prevention. Agencies such as the National Institute of Justice (https://www.nij.gov/Pages/welcome.aspx), National Sexual Violence Resource Center (http://www.nsvrc.org), National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center (https://mainweb-v.musc.edu/vawprevention/), Prevention Institute (http://www.preventioninstitute.org), and Office on Violence Against Women (https://www.justice.gov/ovw) provided a wealth of material for this project. Information ranged from current and past projects pertaining to prevention of first-time male perpetration to resource lists of curricula and documents on the topic.

Conclusions

Recommendations
Through the documents reviewed and phone and e-mail correspondence with programs, we developed recommendations regarding current gaps and needs for prevention efforts targeting first-time male perpetration of sexual violence.
Focus on Gender-Specific, Theory-Driven, Multiple-Session Programs. Both the literature and program providers emphasized the importance of programs that provide gender-specific sessions that are ongoing and have a theoretical basis. Literature findings indicated that single-gender groups had a more significant attitudinal change than mixed-gender groups. Although several program implementers indicated a definitive need to have gender-specific prevention efforts, they acknowledged the importance of a mixed-gender component to allow for both male and female perspectives to be discussed. The varying components should be incorporated in ongoing programs that provide more intensive, interactive sessions to increase the likelihood of attitudinal change. To truly increase rates of change, it is also important that these programs have some level of theoretical underpinning. As indicated in the program descriptions, several programs have used theory-driven curricula that have been shown to be effective and made adaptations for their own programmatic needs.
Focus on Cultural Issues. Existing literature provided little information on the impact of cultural issues in prevention of sexual violence perpetration. Although a significant number of programs indicated that they provide services for racially/ethnically diverse populations, few have been designed with diverse target populations in mind or been evaluated for effectiveness with these groups. Programs should consider what is culturally appropriate for their target audiences.
Assess Behavioral Measures. Research findings and those working with prevention programming in the area of sexual violence indicate that many of the outcome measures focus on factors that have not been shown to have direct relationships to perpetration of sexual violence. Although these types of measures, such as attitudinal changes, are indirectly linked to likelihood of sexual violence perpetration, we need specific measurements of sexually violent behavior. Programs that collect data on sexual violence, particularly with children in school settings, are often not allowed to ask explicit questions regarding sexual behavior; however, to truly assess program effectiveness, these specific behaviors must be assessed.
School-based programs, or others that encounter problems collecting behavioral information about participants, should investigate other proxy measures for changes in sexual violence. Many school systems routinely collect information on reports of violent behavior, and national surveys/studies such as the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and Communities That Care Survey also provide these types of information. These data collection mechanisms often offer state-developed web sites with reports of findings at varying geographical levels, many as specific as the county level. These data may be available at the school level with required consent. These innovative approaches can be used to obtain more behavioral measures of changes in sexual violence.
At the young adult level, researchers have attempted to use cutting-edge measures of behavioral intent and change. For example, Schewe and O’Donohue (1993) used a conformity assessment to identify differences between treatment and control groups in conformity to group norms, and Gilbert, Heesacker, and Gannon (1991) used a naturalistic phone call 1 month after an intervention to assess participants’ willingness to volunteer with a women’s safety project.
Improve Access to Evaluation Training. Programs are striving to develop or improve evaluation efforts, but a lack of training and resources in appropriate evaluation techniques impedes these efforts. To sustain evaluation efforts, it is important that program implementers are trained in basic evaluation techniques. Due to rapid turnover in many programs, evaluation techniques probably should be taught to multiple program staff. Many programs are no longer satisfied with someone else simply providing the results of evaluation. They desire the skills to assess the effectiveness of their own programs.
Because many programs are faced with the dual dilemma of lack of staff and insufficient funding for evaluation efforts, innovative techniques are often required. Many programs have teamed with university- or college-based researchers. Symbiotic relationships can often be established with graduate students, who are often eager to develop their evaluation skills. However, it is important that programs do more than document program findings. They must also enhance the evaluation capability of program staff. Many universities also have specific programs or classes about program-level evaluation. Often these classes revolve around evaluation projects. Dialoguing with professors in this area may offer a cost-effective mechanism for obtaining program evaluation resources.
Share Information on Program Models. Programs are eager to learn about approaches used by others working in the area of sexual violence. Information exchange tools such as the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) list serves and resources available through National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) provide avenues for questions and answers regarding various topics. For example, the NSVRC and VAWnet (National Electronic Network on Violence Against Women) have a partnership to provide facilitated list serve discussions on sexual violence prevention, and the NSVRC is a clearinghouse for sexual violence prevention program models and curricula. Many stakeholders that were contacted as part of this project want to learn more about programs focusing on prevention of first-time male perpetration. They suggested that catalogues and brochures describing programs should use as little technical language as possible and provide a comprehensive overview of program efforts and effectiveness.
Next Steps
Program staff and experts in the field indicated a need for program evaluation, but many acknowledged a lack of skills to carry out comprehensive evaluations. RTI will send applications to programs identified in this phase of the project, inviting them to participate in an empowerment evaluation. In this type of evaluation, external evaluators act as coaches and facilitators who build the capacity of program staff through training and facilitation so that they can conduct future evaluations. Rather than conducting the program evaluations themselves, external evaluators support their capacity building in terms of evaluation as part of an ongoing process of program improvement. In the next phase of this project, we will work with a small group of programs in the development of skills and expertise to allow them to develop, implement, and sustain their own evaluation efforts.


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