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Campus Rape Reduced By Web-Training Tool

Update Date: Sep 15, 2014 06:15 PM EDT

Training college-aged men on the Internet could help reduce campus rape, according to a new study.

Researchers found that the RealConsent program significantly reduced sexually violent behavior and boosted the likelihood of students to intervene to prevent sexual assaults.

Lead researcher Dr. Laura Salazar, associate professor of health promotion and behavior, who published the findings in the paper, "A Web-Based Sexual Violence Bystander Intervention for Male College Students: Randomized Controlled Trial," explained that the training modules are designed to help young men develop empathy for rape victims and to educate them of the legal risks of having sex when one or both partners are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

"It's focused on helping them not get in trouble, helping them communicate with their sexual partners and teaching them skills to intervene," Salazar said in a news release. "It's not focused on 'men are rapists.' "

Researchers said that the Web-based approach is more economical than in-person, small-group formats, and has the potential to reach significantly more students.

The latest study involved more than 700 male undergraduate students at a large university. The students were surveyed before and after training. They found that participants in the RealConsent group were significantly more likely to intervene to prevent sexual assault and less likely to sexually assault other students than those in the control group.

The findings are published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

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