Is Sexual Assault Education Effective?

Everyone should be fully aware that sexual assault is a huge issue that’s even prevalent in Happy Valley. Every student receives a timely warning almost once a week. Those timely warnings just inform us about the the sexual assault that happens that’s actually reported.. Can you imagine how many happen that go unreported? According to the National Assault Hotline, only 34.4% of females actually report sexual assault to the police. For everyone timely warning that you receive, imagine 2 more of the same report that you will not receive. One of the biggest reasons why sexual assault isn’t reported is because in the majority of reported sexual assault, the perpetrator will not be prosecuted. And when they are prosecuted, the public sees trials like the one with Brock Turner where he was sent to jail for a mere 3 months for being caught raping an unconscious girl outside of a dumpster.


This is a pretty heavy subject, but it’s something that needs to be addressed. The biggest question today is “How do we prevent sexual assault from happening?” The easy way to answer that question is to blame the victim. It’s easy to tell women that they need to watch what they wear and watch how they act because that someone is related to another person’s active decision to be a horrible person. This is easy to do and that is why victim blaming is so prevalent in society.

In multiple studies, scientists studied the effectiveness of sexual assault prevention. Through control groups, and random and placebo techniques, the scientists accounted for third variables that may effect the outcomes of the studies. A third variable could be for example, race or sex. In the studies, out of the 102 treatment intervention for sexual assault awareness there were 262 effect sizes based on a sexual assault education program. These different effects that were found in the study show that there were differences in attitudes towards rape, empathy for victims, and increased knowledge on the issues. The results of the studies is that yes, there was an change in attitude with sexual assault education programs in place. But what needs to be further studied is if these programs have a lasting impact impact on the behaviors of the subject.

Prevention is important but until we find a very effective way to prevent such horrible acts to occur, we must be prepared for when something does happen. Luckily, Penn State has a lot of resources for victims of sexual assault. The 3 main services set in place to help victims is through the Title IX, UHS, and CAPS. Keep these services in mind so you can also be a support system for anyone who may go through sexual assault. One last thing that I want to leave you with is maybe some small form of education on the subject. Consent is pretty easy to understand.. It’s as easy as tea.

4 thoughts on “Is Sexual Assault Education Effective?

  1. Nicole B Sherman

    Hi Hannah,

    I really enjoyed reading your post, especially because sexual assault is something that, I too, take very seriously. The main points that I got out of your post were that many victims do not report being sexually assaulted, and that one way to prevent sexual assault is to inform individuals about sexual assault through mediums such as educational programs. However, I have a hard time believing that just educational programs alone can truly make a substantial difference. One of the reasons I find this hard to believe, is that, according to a study published by James W. Stout, and Frederick P. Rivara, in Pediatrics, sexual education has little effect on preventing sexual activity, or any form of contraception on teens; this makes me believe it has a very similar effect on sexual education preventing sexual assault. The study in question is actually a meta-analysis of several studies, each of which evaluated different high school sex-ed programs. The studies measured how old the participants (mainly high school children) were when they first engaged in sexual activity, and the effect of the programs on teen pregnancy rates. Overwhelmingly, all of the studies that Stout and Rivara reported on, showed that the sexual education programs had very little effect on preventing pregnancy among teens (Schools and Sex Education). Based on this data, I am lead to believe that sexual assault education programs have just as little of an effect on preventing sexual assault in its participants. I believe that there is more to preventing something than just informing. Action must be taken to truly prevent something. Therefore, I think that, if we are really serious about preventing sexual assault, that we could take action to prevent it, perhaps we could do this by increasing how fast sexual assault kits are processed. Right now, it can up to several years to process a rape kit, and perhaps by speeding up that process, something that could be achieved by adding more labor to companies that do process those kits, that this would in turn instill fear in an individual that, if they do sexually assault someone, there is a large chance that they will be caught and convicted.

    Sources: Schools and Sex Education: Does It Work? (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2016, from

  2. Abigail Edwards

    Hi Hannah!

    I think that this is a really great thing to blog about becuase of how prevalent it is on college campuses! Sexual assault is bigger then it actually comes across to be, it is more than just something that happens at a party. Sometimes the perpetrator actually watches their victims for weeks, then they strategically plan out when to attack! This then leads us to find an underlying larger problem, most of the time something phycological. Maybe if you could expand on that in your post it would be a bit stronger! Although, great job!


  3. Cristen Heaton

    This is a really heavy topic and I have personally gone through training to help people who have been sexually assaulted. The tea video is the best video ever and I am super glad you included that, it gets the point across. Sadly, sexual assault is a huge issue and like you stated multiple confounding variables are present. I remember meeting a guy who was in one of my classes and he became a great friend of mine and when the semester was over, he wanted to give me a hug and he personally asked me if that was okay with me. I thought that was so nice of him but you can just tell by that, our cultures are very different. I really really really HATE when people also blame girls for wearing clothing that may be a little to revealing. That is NO excuse for sexually assaulting a woman. That is a thing I hear all the time, “Well she was wearing a short skirt”. No. Just stop yourself right there. The attached link talks about alcohol related sexual assaults among college students. I think it is a great study to look at as well and draw conclusions from!

    1. Hannah Marie Helmes Post author

      Thank you for your comment! I have also gone through training on this issue during my training to become an RA. I personally believe that everyone on campus should be required to go through a training like we are required to do. Though, there doesn’t seem to be a super effective education program that will prevent perpetrators from doing it, but at least there are programs regarding bystander intervention. Penn State has a program called Stand For State that tries to help with getting students aware of what the warning signs and prevention techniques are on noticing an situation that could potential lead to sexual assault. This shouldn’t just be an RA issue, this should be an everyone issue! Check out the Stand For State website here:

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