Melora Sundt, associate dean of the USC Rossier School of Education, presented a workshop at a Jan. 16-17 conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Sundt and USC doctoral student Irina Gottlieb spoke to administrators from rape crisis centers, campus judicial affairs offices, campus police departments and women’s resource centers.
Their research explored what student affairs administrators think is most effective for preventing violence against women versus what research suggests is most effective.
True prevention focuses on potential perpetrators and bystanders, their research found. There is growing evidence that much violence against women is generated by a small number of repeat offenders, who can be “charming college men” instead of “strangers in the bushes,” Sundt said.
Helping bystanders identify predatory behavior and encouraging them to intervene can help stop violence from occurring and be more effective than traditional approaches such as self-defense classes or better lighting.