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  • Bystander approach teaches that others play role in preventing sexual violence

    WBUR - 04/23/2014

    Many colleges are reaching out to students to help stop sexual harassment and assault. They’re teaching what’s known as the “bystander approach,” which marks a shift from relying solely on women to protect themselves to the idea that bystanders, both men and women, have a role to play in preventing sexual violence.

    On a weekend afternoon at Northeastern University earlier this month, a group of students held what they called a “Prevention Festival” — handing out chocolate ice cream, candy bars and pamphlets about sexual assault.

    Brandon Rigby, a 22-year-old accounting major who stopped by, was surprised to read in a pamphlet that one in five female students will be victims of sexual assault on college campuses.

    “I would have thought it was much lower,” he said. “That’s pretty high.”

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost half of the women and more than a third of the men who’ve experienced sexual violence in their lives were first sexually assaulted between the ages of 18 and 24, when many people are in college.

    Dayna Altman, who studies human services and psychology at Northeastern, organized the festival.

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