Founded by Binghamton University in 2004-2005, 20:1 is dedicated to the approximately 20 women per hour who are sexually assaulted in the United States. It is a peer-to-peer model, through which male and female students on campus educate other students about sexual assault with an emphasis on programming directed at men in Greek Life and Athletics. The main goals are to: raise awareness of what constitutes sexual assault, define and explore consent; challenge perspectives and deeply held biases, challenge victim blaming and rape myths, explore and encourage bystander behavior, provide information on how to support victims, and highlight available resources both on and off campus.
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Binghamton University has developed a three-tiered prevention program addressing three key areas: Empathy, Awareness and Bystander-intervention. The first tier, called the Empathy-Based Program, utilizes peer educators to elicit victim empathy, and raise awareness around consent, victim blaming and rape myths. The second tier, the Awareness-Based Program, is designed to promote self awareness specifically around the issues of consent through the use of an interactive technique that allows participants to talk about their biases, personal acceptance or rejection of rape myths, and cultural constructs around sexuality and sexual assault. The third tier, the Bystander-Based Program, emerged from comments of participants who felt that they had become more aware of the problem and would like to help, but do not know what to do. This tier is designed to help fraternity men become more socially aware and willing to act to protect others.
20:1 utilizes a lecture component to communicate statistics and raise awareness of the realities of sexual violence. Importantly, it uses interactive activities to discuss consent and bystander intervention. One example of the latter is a “Consent game” developed by program administrators.
The goal is that students in Greek life should be exposed to 20:1 programming 3-4 times during their four years in college. Sessions typically last 60-90 minutes. But dosage varies depending on the audience. For example, every incoming member of a fraternity is exposed to Tier 1 (the Empathy-Based Program). At other times 20:1 will organize sessions around Tier 2 and Tier 3 (see below).
Those who administer the 20:1 program prefer to keep the number of participants at a given session to around 30 members. Administering the program effectively requires an audience small enough to allow high percentage of the participants to participate.
General student college population (sessions can be single-sex or co-ed), Greek students, athletes
The program is based on several theories of how to prevent incidents of sexual assault, including empathy-building, awareness-raising, and bystander intervention. 20:1 runs on the assumption that the most effective way to reach students is through their own peers; thus, the program recruits members of fraternities to speak to fraternity members, and has worked to develop a good working relationship with fraternity presidents. In implementing the program, students and administrators found that female program participants were less likely to have a firm grasp on consent. The program heavily emphasizes the importance of defining consent as an ongoing process of communication and providing examples of how to obtain it.
There are no peer-reviewed studies of the effectiveness of 20:1 on attitudes toward rape, likelihood of bystander intervention, or any of the other traditional measures of program effectiveness. 20:1 has been conducting internal pre-post studies of program effectiveness since 2005. These studies indicate the program is effective in teaching participants how to understand consent, and has a positive effect on self-reported perpetration and victimization rates. They have presented the results of these studies at national conferences since 2006. 20:1 has been recognized by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) and the United States Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) as a best practice model for sexual assault prevention. The Department of Defense visited SUNY Binghamton for three days to observe and learn from 20:1.
20:1 is only available to members of the Binghamton University community. Some of the colleges and universities they have provided consulting services to include:
Making a commitment to train student facilitators. 20:1 has worked with administrators at SUNY Binghamton to make a strong commitment to finding credible student facilitators and giving them the resources and training they need to work effectively with their fellow students. Students are trained throughout an entire academic year before working as facilitators, and they receive internship credit at the college for their efforts. College administrators should consider developing similar policies to provide incentives for students to become facilitators, and to provide them with the resources and training they need to be effective.
Learning from participants. The development of 20:1 has been an ongoing collaboration between students and administrators at Binghamton. By listening to the feedback of the student body administrators have been able to respond to specific needs and desires of their community, thus generating buy in at all levels. As every campus is unique, establishing clear channels of communication for feedback is encouraged to ensure programs are relevant and responsive to their community and its needs.
The 20:1 program is only available to members of the Binghamton University community, but program staff are available as consultants. Also, many resources are available on the program's website, including "The Consent Game."