International partners receive funding to study sexual violence

May 22, 2018

The UCGHI Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment Center of Expertise (WHGE COE) is funding four projects focused on international university campus-based violence prevention research.

Award recipients will conduct research to strengthen their campus’ prevention and response to sexual assault, harassment, stalking, dating violence and other forms of gender-based violence.

“Sexual assault and intimate partner violence are pervasive problems on college and university campuses worldwide,” said Ushma Upadhyay, PhD, MPH, WHGE COE director of research. “It is time to change campus culture around the world so that all students can enjoy sexual safety, respect and autonomy and have the greatest chance at academic success.”

As an extension of the WHGE COE’s signature project, Empower Campuses for Sexual Respect and Safety, international award recipients will assess scope, determinants and consequences of campus-based violence, as well as design, improve and evaluate policies, programs and resources to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and harassment.

Recipients’ projects

Testing the acceptability and feasibility of the Men with Conscience (MWC) sexual violence prevention intervention
Dr. Tania de Villiers, University of Cape Town

The men with conscience (MWC) intervention uses a participatory approach using role-play, group discussions and critical reflection to encourage men to engage in gender equitable relationships with women by addressing personal values and belief systems, societal prescriptions of men’s behavior, defining rape, bystander interventions and maintaining healthy relationships. The main objectives are to determine the prevalence and risk factors of sexual violence among a sample of university students, to test the acceptability and feasibility of the MWC intervention as a strategy to prevent sexual violence in university residences, and to conduct a pilot randomized controlled trial to test the feasibility of the MWC intervention within university settings. This study will be conducted at University of the Western Cape and University of Stellenbosch.

End Violence on Campus (EVOC)
Dr. Willice Abuya, Moi University, Kenya; Albert Obbuyi, Centre for the Study of Adolescence, Nairobi; Hellen Owino, Centre for the Study of Adolescence, Nairobi; Dr. Paula Tavrow, University of California Los Angeles

The purpose of End Violence on Campus (EVOC) is to develop and test a comprehensive, low-cost, feasible and student-driven model of monitoring, prevention and victim services that Moi University would be able to implement, sustain and build upon. To obtain student involvement, Dr. Abuya will work with the Student Council to create an EVOC Club among undergraduates to lead EVOC activities and give input into monitoring and evaluation tools. This mixed-methods study will include a cross-sectional web-based survey to target all sophomores at Moi University, as well as focus group discussions and key informant interviews to obtain perspectives on the program and its impact.

Closing the gap between sexual harassment policy and implementation at the University of Zambia
Dr. J. Anitha Menon, University of Zambia HIV and AIDS Response Unit (UNZA); Dr. Mary Shilalukey Ngoma, UNZA; Dr. Charles Michelo, UNZA; Dr. Clementina​ Lwatula, UNZA; Ganizani Mwale, UNZA

This project aims to conduct specific sexual harassment awareness campaigns targeting students and staff at UNZA and evaluate current sexual harassment policy implementation and sexual harassment reporting structure to identify gaps and barriers. Investigators will recommend revisions to the sexual harassment policy and create an online user-friendly resource for dealing with campus sexual harassment. The goal of this study is to increase awareness of sexual harassment in the work and learning environment as well as streamline procedures and processes for reporting sexual harassment within the university setting.

Resistance and empowerment: Assessing the feasibility of a sexual assault resistance programme for South Africa
Mercilene Machisa, South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), University of Witwatersrand; Pinky Mahlangu, SAMRC, University of Witerwatersrand; Yandisa Sikweyiya, SAMRC, University of Witwatersrand; Elizabeth Dartnall, SAMRC; Managa Pillay, HEAIDS; Rachel Jewkes, SAMRC, University of Witwatersrand

This project will assess the acceptability, feasibility and fidelity of the Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act (EAAA) sexual assault education and resistance program. Investigators will conduct qualitative research with student and support staff on South African Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) college campuses to assess their experiences with the EAAA intervention and to develop links with colleagues undertaking similar work in the region to share tools, methods, approaches, and learning. Key products of this study will include refinement of the EAAA training manual, policy brief on acceptability of EAAA for college students in South Africa, and building of regional knowledge on campus-based gender-based violence prevention efforts through linkages between similar projects in the region and globally.

About the Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment Center of Expertise 

The WHGE COE envisions a world in which equitable gender norms lead to healthy and empowered women — including University of California students. The COE promotes research, education and community engagement both globally and locally to reduce gender and health inequities.