Despite the perceived difficulties of educating college-aged men on the topics of sexual assault and abusive relationships, recent data from Sigma Nu Fraternity and Prevention Culture indicates the uniquely designed Bystander Strengths Workshop is both effective and popular among this key demographic.

Sigma Nu Fraternity staff conducted the program with an audience of more than 6,200 collegiate members in the 2016-2017 academic year. The Bystander Strengths Workshop focuses on bystander intervention on the full spectrum of sexual misconduct, as well as other forms of interpersonal harm.

Information collected via pre-program and post-program surveys indicates a statistically significant improvement in all thirteen measured program outcomes, including being able to recognize when to intervene to prevent both emergency and non-emergency situations, and feeling confident in one’s ability to appropriately intervene in a broad spectrum of situations. (69% & 67% of learners completed the pre/post surveys respectively)

The Bystanders Strengths Workshop is a program developed by Aaron Boe, the founder and CEO of Prevention Culture. Boe has developed workshops and provided training for over a dozen national fraternity and sorority organizations. Sigma Nu Fraternity was the first to implement The Bystander Strengths Workshop.

“Bystander intervention training is talked about and provided on campuses all the time, but it’s well-known that it can be a challenge to engage young men on these issues,” says Boe. “I wanted to see if we could develop an approach that would be more effective in reaching fraternity men and athletes. The design applies theories from social psychology and a different way of approaching men that I believed would increase engagement and help us influence attitudes and behavior. The Sigma Nu staff did a great job and have been great to work with.”

The results of the Sigma Nu report, based on over 4,000 responses, indicates that the workshop’s unique communication method and design equips men to recognize and respond to potential emergency situations at a time when college administrators and fraternity leaders are focused on efficacy.

97.7% of respondents agreed to the statement, “As a result of the workshop, I now know multiple tools I could apply to intervene in emergency and non-emergency situations.”

The success of The Bystanders Strengths Workshop is encouraging, and Boe is quick to add that it should only be one component of a larger strategy to prevent harm. “These issues are too serious to rely on only one educational experience to prevent harm. It shows, however, that men are very receptive to more education if they’re approached in a certain way.”

Students participating in the program provided overwhelmingly positive feedback:

“[The workshop] made me open my eyes a little more to look for potential situations and gave me the confidence to speak up,” wrote one participant.

Another shared, “I got a sobering feeling about how overlooking one seemingly insignificant thing could lead to trouble. I received a lot of helpful tips and tricks on how to defuse a bad situation.”

“The workshop was a great experience and I think that a lot of the brothers were able to find out exactly how to be an active bystander.”

About Prevention Culture

Founded in 2014, Prevention Culture was established to provide organizations and institutions with the curriculum and training needed to prevent sexual misconduct and abuse in relationships. Their innovative approach includes also equipping young people for healthy relationships and social and sexual ethics.

Prevention Culture’s curriculum, training, and consulting projects are based on combining subject matter expertise with educational program design expertise. Founder Aaron Boe sees in-depth knowledge on the issues as only the starting point, and that curriculum and training must also apply theories of social psychology, educational psychology, and cognitive linguistics to be as effective as they need to be.

  • To date, fourteen (14) national fraternities and sororities have partnered with Prevention Culture to utilize Aaron Boe’s curriculum to engage staff, volunteers and students.
  • Prevention Culture programming is tailored to each organization or college/university’s needs, and is proven to appeal to male and female audiences, showing a decrease in victim-blaming and an increase in supportive attitudes among sorority women.
  • Prevention Culture programs have been proved to effectively reach and impact college men with regard to the complicated issues of both sexual misconduct and abuse in relationships.
  • Comprehensive programming for athletic departments and student athletes was launched by Prevention Culture in 2016, providing tools that fit naturally within player development.
  • Founder Aaron Boe is developing curriculum for middle and high schools to build their capacity to prevent harm before it occurs and equip students for healthy relationships


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