Theories that Shape Our Work
Bystander Intervention

Alan Berkowitz asserts in his research that 80% of college age men are uncomfortable when women are belittled or mistreated. They do not express their discomfort because they believe they are the only ones who are uncomfortable. Bystander intervention better equips men to express their discomfort. This strategy provides community members with the awareness, skills, and ability to challenge social norms in their community that support sexual assault. It is a tactic that meshes well with the social ecological model because bystander goals and outcomes can be developed and supported at the different levels.

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Social Ecological Model

The social ecological model, advocated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a model for primary prevention of sexual assault, recognizes that individuals do not exist in isolation. Instead, they exist within complex interplays of contextual factors, both micro and macro, that the model defines as “relationship, community, and societal” influences (see figure below).


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Social and Emotional Learning

While still not as esteemed as academic learning, social and emotional learning’s (SEL) value and importance is gaining ground. The connection between academic success and SEL is undeniable. The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development Task Force and the Learning First Alliance claim that once students’ social, emotional, and physical needs have been addressed, then academic learning can take place. 

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Dominant Stories and Counter Stories of Masculinity

Men Can Stop Rape’s (MCSR) groundbreaking use of dominant stories and counter stories has been central to its prevention efforts. Adapted from Hilde Nelson’s Damaged Identities: Narrative Repair, the dominant and counter story concept helps to raise critical awareness of unhealthy masculinity and build in its place a positive, healthier masculinity.

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