SCREAM Theater, Sexual Assault Services and Crime Victim Assistance, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Contact Name: Sarah McMahon, Karen Herman
Phone Number: (732) 932-1181
Key Words: (1) Mixed gender and male only; (2) college and high school age; (3) racially diverse; (4) university and high school setting; (5) theatrical performance
Population served
SCREAM Theater serves a racially diverse mix of incoming students at Rutgers and other universities, university professionals, high schools, and various other student, professional, and community groups. The program occasionally provides presentations to all-male groups in juvenile justice programs and some all-male high schools. Presentations are also made to male fraternal organizations and male athletic teams. The program conducts approximately 75 presentations a year, with most of them occurring in August. Approximately 7,000 students are served in August, compared to about 1,000 in December.
Participants are not currently recruited for the programs. Schools and universities have heard about SCREAM through word of mouth or have contacted SCREAM after seeing the presentations at conferences.
Medium used to convey message
The SCREAM Theater offers a variety of presentations on a range of issues, such as sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and harassment. The curriculum for this program is not formalized, although six training meetings are provided each semester for peer educators.
Goals, objectives, and desired outcomes
The program’s goals are to raise awareness about issues of interpersonal violence, to enable individuals to assist friends who have been abused, to encourage audience members to confront one another on inappropriate behavior, and to engage in individual and collective means for social change. The program provides an open forum for dialogue about issues of interpersonal violence and encourages students to discuss issues and to continue to talk about them after the presentations.
Theoretical/ scientific basis for the approach
The program is based on a combination of various theoretical foundations. The approach to addressing issues of interpersonal violence is based largely on feminist theory and a culture of violence theory. The theoretical underpinnings of the peer education approach rely heavily on leadership and social change theories.
Level of evaluation
The program conducts both formal and informal assessments. In 1998 and 1999, a large-scale assessment was conducted of first-year students who saw the production during orientation. Results indicated that there were positive changes in attitudes about sexual assault. The program started in 1991.
Staff capacity
The program is delivered by college-aged peer educators. The assistant director of the department is responsible for all departmental evaluation projects. The funding for this program is stable. It receives a state grant that is renewed every year through the NJ Division on Women, Rape Care Programs.