RealConsent is an online training program for sexual assault prevention that is aimed at educating college-aged men. The program is modeled after Alan Berkowitz’s Men’s Workshop. It was converted to an online format and evaluated through a CDC-funded initiative.
|Program Name||Level of Evidence||Format||Target Audience||Special Features|
|Supported By Evidence||
||This program is for male-identified students.|
The modules communicate key themes using: definitions, scenarios, survivor stories portrayed by actors, expert testimony, advice from peers, and interactive quizzes and games. There are also scenarios that ask the student to decide whether informed consent is possible, after providing guidelines for what constitutes consent. Throughout the program, scripted scenes with a group of male friends help address key topics including: knowledge of informed consent, communication skills regarding sex, the role of alcohol and male socialization in sexual violence, empathy for rape victims, and bystander education.
Six 30-minute modules
Male undergraduate students
The content for RealConsent was based on several complementary theoretical frameworks: social cognitive theory, social norms theory, and the bystander educational model. The program was based of Dr. Alan Berkowitz’s Men’s Workshop (LINK) that has demonstrated efficacy in rigorous evaluation.
One evaluation study of the RealConsent was published in a peer-reviewed journal, demonstrating significant improvement on both primary outcome measures (prosocial bystander behavior and sexual perpetration). The evaluation also measured 12 mediating outcomes. The study demonstrated significant effects on all but one mediator (self-efficacy).
RealConsent is still in its beta-testing phase and is not in use by any schools.
While the program’s strength is that it speaks to a specific audience that is at high risk for perpetration of assault, it’s tone and content may not resonate with all college-aged men. This is especially true for queer, gay or gender-nonconforming students, but may also be relevant for men who do not identify with the actors portrayed in RealConsent.
The original program has recently been revised. Researchers are beta-testing the revised version. To find out how to participate in beta-testing, contact Dr. Laura Salazar at firstname.lastname@example.org. The program will be commercially available soon.
Salazar, L.F., Vivolo-Kantor, A.V., Hardin, J. & Berkowitz, A. A. (2014). Web-based Sexual Violence Bystander Intervention for Male College Students: Randomized Control Trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 16 (9): 1-16. doi:10.2196/jmir.3426