Summary: A new type of sexual violence prevention program was tested using two high schools in Hawai’i comprised of 136 male and female students. One school was used as a comparison group (n=73) and the other as an intervention group (n=63). The intervention, entitled Respect, was an academic curriculum given to high school students. The Respect curriculum consisted of six culturally relevant lessons that addressed: how to define sexual violence, how to identify four types of sexual violence (sexual harassment, exposure, sexual touching, and penetration/rape), define, communicate, and respect person boundaries, how to choose appropriate and safe bystander responses, and how to support a victim. The lessons also incorporated the standards for health education by the Hawai’i Department of Education. An expert from the Sexual Abuse Treatment Center practiced a train-the-trainer model, training teachers on how to deliver the content to their students. Using pre and post surveys, it was determined that students who received the Respect curriculum had increased knowledge of sexual violence, increased bystander self-efficacy and reduced victim blaming attitudes compared to the control group. Fidelity measurement showed that the teachers in the study were able to present the sensitive content without difficulty.
Application/Evaluation: The study findings showed that high school teachers can be trained by experts in the field to provide a curriculum on sexual violence prevention, resulting in increased student knowledge on the subject. The Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance short form and the bystander efficacy scale were used to evaluate the participants’ knowledge of sexual violence, victim blaming attitudes, and perceptions of bystander self-efficacy.
Limitations: Teachers enrolled in the study were volunteers and thus, might have been motivated to promote the curriculum and influence changes in student knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Also, it was unclear if the curriculum will contribute to reductions in the perpetration of violent behaviors.