Initiatives, It's On Us, Press Release

It’s On Us Releases First-Of-Its-Kind Research on Engaging Young Men in Campus Sexual Assault Prevention

Engaging Men: National Campus Sexual Assault Attitudes and Behaviors Report shows that male-identifying students want to help prevent campus sexual assault but don’t feel prepared with the tools to intervene 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, It’s On Us released the Engaging Men: National Campus Sexual Assault Attitudes and Behaviors Report (Engaging Men Research Report), a new study exploring how to most effectively and meaningfully engage young college men in sexual assault prevention on campuses nationwide. 

This project is the first of its kind to focus on how male-identifying students feel about the prevention training they currently receive from their colleges and universities and how likely they are to get involved in preventing gender-based violence on campus. The research also includes recommendations for colleges and universities to build more effective sexual assault prevention programs. 

“Engaging young men is key to meaningfully addressing campus sexual assault, and in order to connect with male-identifying students, we must first understand their honest perceptions of both campus sexual assault and current sexual assault prevention trainings,” said Tracey Vitchers, Executive Director of It’s On Us. “As the Engaging Men Research Report shows, current trainings – particularly online-only trainings – are not adequate. Young men want to get involved,  but they don’t feel prepared or empowered to intervene. It’s On Us is dedicated to continuing this research and creating actionable change to improve sexual assault prevention efforts on college and university campuses.” 

“In our work to empower young men to be part of the solution to campus sexual assault, we noticed a major gap in research,” said Silvia Zenteno, Director of Educational Programs and Training at It’s On Us. “No major study had previously been completed to evaluate what sexual assault prevention programs are in place at colleges and universities nationwide, the level of student participation in existing prevention programs, attitudes toward prevention programs and student actions and attitudes following their participation in prevention programming. The Engaging Men Research Report is an essential step to begin to fill this research gap to both increase and support young men’s engagement in sexual assault prevention.” 

Key findings in the study include:

  • Men aren’t concerned about the problem: The young men who participated generally are not aware of the extent of sexual violence on campus, often viewing it as a problem limited to Greek life that does not affect them or their school as a whole. 
  • Current trainings are inadequate: Participants tend to find current trainings, particularly online-only trainings, boring and ineffective. More positive experiences are in-person and use creative training methods, such as engaging, relatable speakers and interactive components like a certificate. 
  • Men need non-male friends and role models: Strong relationships with non-male friends and role models have a big impact on male-identifying students’ awareness of campus sexual assault and their willingness to become involved and intervene in situations of gender-based violence. 
  • Men don’t know how to help: The majority of college men would like to have a bigger role in sexual assault prevention and expressed a desire to help, but they do not feel they are prepared with the right tools to intervene. 

To conduct this survey, It’s On Us partnered with consulting and insights firm HauckEye to collect information on the types of prevention programming schools conduct, as well as their effectiveness, reach and possible gaps by using an exploratory qualitative method to better understand the experiences, attitudes and behaviors of young college men.

It’s On Us intends to build on this research and conduct a large-scale quantitative survey. The full Engaging Men Research Report can be found HERE.