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Mentors in Violence Prevention

Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) is a leadership program that motivates student-athletes and student leaders to play a central role in solving problems that historically have been considered “women’s issues:” rape, battering, and sexual harassment.

The mixed gender, racially-diverse MVP Program, composed of former professional and college athletes, motivates men and women to work together in preventing gender violence.
Mentors in Violence Prevention is a gender violence, bullying, and school violence prevention approach that encourages young men and women to take on leadership roles in their schools and communities. It uses an innovative “bystander” model that was developed in 1993 by Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sports in Society to empower each student to take an active role in promoting a positive school climate. Interactive discussion and role-plays in single-sex and mixed-gender classes allow students to construct and practice viable options in response to incidents of harassment, abuse, or violence before, during, or after the fact. Students learn that there is not simply “one way” to confront violence, but that each individual can learn valuable skills to build their personal resolve and to act when faced with difficult or life threatening situations.

Utilizing a unique bystander approach to prevention, the MVP program views student-athletes and student leaders not as potential perpetrators or victims, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers. This emphasis reduces the defensiveness men often feel and the helplessness women often feel when discussing issues of men’s violence against women.