Research News

College sexual assault defense program for women halved rape risk

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 12 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h3242
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

A sexual assault training program for women in their first year of college successfully halved their risk of being raped, Canadian researchers have reported in a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine.1 The training, which included instruction in verbal and physical self defense, also reduced the risk of attempted rape, attempted sexual coercion, and non-consensual sexual contact.

In a statement the study’s lead author, Charlene Senn, professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, said, “What this shows us is that, while we wait for effective programs for men or for cultural shifts in attitudes to happen, there is something practical we can do to give young women the tools they need to better protect themselves from sexual assault.”

It is estimated that as many as 25% of women are sexually …

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