This report is first-of-its-kind research on how to engage male athletes in sexual assault prevention on college campuses around the country. Building on It’s On Us’s previous research findings that male students are key to effective prevention efforts and male student athletes have unique prevention education needs, Prevention is a Team Sport is the first research to specifically explore college-aged, male athletes’ thoughts and behaviors regarding sex education and sexual assault prevention.
🔑 Young men need accurate sex and consent education: Initial experiences learning about sex – whether positive or negative – have a lasting impact on attitudes and behaviors toward sex, consent, relationships and gender norms. Many male athletes first learn about sex through pornography, which perpetuates myths and misinformation about sex, making accurate sex and consent education even more important.
🔑 Current trainings are not practical: Effective training must be intentional and specific to college athletes, such as hosting at a time when the athletes can be present physically and mentally and having multiple touchpoints no longer than one hour. Existing awareness and prevention education training programs are often boring, not reflective of campus culture, unengaging and typically conducted online.
🔑 Male athletes believe survivors when told directly, but are often conflicted when they hear about an allegation against a teammate or athlete: Although participants were likely to believe and support survivors when they received a direct disclosure, when they learned about a teammate or friend who had been accused of sexual assault, they expressed concerns about false allegations being levied against themselves or their teammates.
🔑 The athletes were unaware of what healthy – and unhealthy – relationships truly look like: Participants struggled to label characteristics of a toxic or abusive relationship they experienced or witnessed, particularly while the relationship occurred.
🔑 Male athletes want to help: Male athletes want to do all they can to prevent sexual assault on campus, but no one has shown them how to be active bystanders.