This project created a collaborative intervention model and curriculum for schools and community-based organizations in order to understand and counter rising rates of rape, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination in school environments.
Schools may well be the training grounds for domestic violence through the practice of and permission given to the public performance of sexual harassment. Peer-to-peer sexual harassment is rampant in elementary and secondary schools across the country. Yet, when educators and policy makers consider interventions to curb youth violence, they usually overlook gender violence. This oversight exists despite the growing recognition of the problems of teen dating violence, bullying, and domestic violence.
When gender violence is acknowledged in K-12 schools, staff members from rape crisis center and battered women's shelters are frequently asked to make presentations in classrooms on teen dating violence, date rape, battering, and sexual harassment. While these requests represent new opportunities for these organizations, a gap exists between what these agency staff know and do, and what the school staff retain and teach to the students afterwards. Moreover, there is often a cultural dissonance between the school's culture and protocols and those of the community-based organizations.
In order to provide effective interventions and prevention work on student-to-student sexual harassment and gender violence, this project researched and developed a collaborative intervention model and curriculum for school personnel and community-based organizations.
Intervention model objectives addressed during consultation:
- Conduct a needs assessment of constituencies (schools and rape crisis centers and/or battered women's shelters), focusing on services delivered, curriculum materials and pedagogy employed, and interactions between agency and school staff;
- Review materials currently used to teach about sexual harassment and gender violence;
- Strengthen skills of staff from each constituency;
- Develop collaborative teaching teams (staff from schools and community-based organizations) and classroom teaching materials on gender violence and sexual harassment;
- Field test materials and intervention models in an expanded number of sites; revise based on evaluations;
- Publish and disseminate materials.
Gender Violence/Gender Justice: An Interdisciplinary Teaching Guide for Teachers of English, Literature, Social Studies, Psychology, Health, Peer Counseling, and Family and Consumer Sciences (grades 7-12)
Sexual Harassment Erodes the Notion that School Is a Safe Place: An Interview with Nan Stein from the Harvard Education Letter Research Online.