Preventing sexual violence in adolescents

Raised of $10,000 Goal
Ended on 10/29/14
Campaign Ended
  • $1,445
  • 15%
  • Finished
    on 10/29/14

About This Project

Sexual violence destroys lives. Sadly, this violence is often perpetrated by people we trust and love. The patterns that trap individuals in abusive relationships begin in adolescence. The goal of this project is to educate adolescents on how to build healthy romantic relationships. We want to give them a better understanding of the root causes of sexual and relationship violence, and teach them how to protect themselves and their peers.

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What is the context of this research?

Unfortunately, Licking County, Ohio has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the state. Survey evidence from adolescents and adults in the Licking County area indicates that a significant portion of the population has a poor understanding of the sexual violence. Equally troubling, a large number of young people have a poor understanding of sexual consent, which creates a dangerous environment with the potential for high levels of sexual violence.

We are currently engaged in a broader project on relationship and community development, which examines how individuals define themselves in social spaces and how those definitions grow and change over time. As part of that project we will teach students to build healthy inter-personal relationships and safer communities

What is the significance of this project?

Finding effective ways to combat sexual violence is a major challenge and the most effective antidote may be to attack the problem in adolescence. When teens first begin to develop relationships they form patterns that may be repeated throughout their entire lives. Teenagers who either perpetrate or are victimized by relationship violence as adolescents are far more likely to continue those behaviors as adults.

Unfortunately, most of the data on violence prevention programs is limited to short-term time frames. We intend to use a panel survey design. This study will track cohorts in each school over multiple years including older students and students in the same school who did not necessarily go through the Expect Respect program.

What are the goals of the project?

  1. Reduce violence in the target population, including sexual, physical and emotional violence.
  2. Provide a template for policy-makers. If successful, this program could provide a template for future efforts to reduce relationship violence in schools and on campuses.
  3. Improve adolescents’ understanding of relationship and sexual violence and help them understand how to build healthy relationships.
  4. Evaluate secondary program effects. Students can have an enormous impact on their peers and it is possible that the effects of Expect Respect may contribute to a safer community.
  5. Use the survey data to better understand relationship and community development. Survey data will track how adolescents gain an understanding of their community and social responsibilities.


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All of the funds for this project will be used to implement the Expect Respect: Promoting Healthy Dating Relationships program in three Licking County, OH high schools during the 2014-2015 school year and measure its impact using survey data. Trained presenters and professionals from The Center for New Beginnings, Licking County’s domestic violence shelter, will implement the program over the course of one week per semester in each school. These professionals have both expertise and years of experience in the fields of teen dating violence an domestic violence, which makes them ideally suited to educate students about relationship and sexual violence, their root causes, and how to build and maintain healthy relationships.

The proposed budget covers the cost of the program presenters’ time as well as printing of program materials and handouts for students. In addition, the funds cover the cost of bringing in a survivor of domestic violence to serve as a guest speaker and give the students a personal account of how an abusive relationship can develop beginning as early as high school. Students will be surveyed at the end of the fall and spring semesters to assess the program’s effectiveness. Survey data gathered to assess the effectiveness of the project will be conducted online through a site license provided by the OSU political science department, which means it will not require additional funding.

92% of your contribution may be claimed as tax-deductible (as Experiment charges an 8% fee)

Meet the Team

Nathaniel Swigger and Kelly Cahill Roberts
Nathaniel Swigger and Kelly Cahill Roberts

Team Bio

She's creative and likes working with people. He's a cynical number cruncher. They go together like chocolate and peanut butter...or chocolate and milk...or chocolate and raisins...or chocolate and really anything because chocolate is awesome.

Nathaniel became interested in this project through his work on gender norms, media messaging, and public opinion on issues of sexuality. His main contribution to the project is survey design and implementation as well as quantitative analysis. Kelly has been working with adolescents in central Ohio for 10 years, providing therapy to victims of sexual violence and prevention education to high school students in the area. She gets to actually go in and implement the Expect Respect program in the classrooms.

Together they make a pretty good team (You know, along with help from OSU, the Woodlands, and a bunch of awesome high school teachers and administrators in the district.)

Project Backers

  • 15Backers
  • 15%Funded
  • $1,445Total Donations
  • $96.33Average Donation
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