A program that trained first-year female college students to avoid rape substantially lowered their risk of being sexually assaulted, a rare success against a problem that has been resistant to many prevention efforts, researchers reported Wednesday.
Sexual violence is a serious hazard on college campuses. By some estimates, one in five female students are raped, and women tend to be at the greatest risk during their first year on campus. In the aftermath of several highly publicized campus rapes, the White House last spring issued guidelines directing colleges to address sexual assault.
The risk of rape for 451 women randomly assigned to the program was about 5 percent, compared with nearly 10 percent among 442 women in a control group who were given brochures and a brief information session.
“Only 22 women would need to take the program in order to prevent one additional rape from occurring within one year,” the authors concluded.