"We're teaching girls that it is OK to say no without feeling guilty, teaching them that 'I have permission to defend myself,'" said Lee Paiva, a co-author of the study and co-founder of No Means No Worldwide, who helped develop the empowerment curriculum. As in many cultures, the topics of rape and sexual assault are usually treated with silence and shame in the girls' communities, she said. "We're countering that intense socialization that all of us go through as women."
No Means No Worldwide is studying empowerment training for girls in the context of its larger efforts to stop gender-based violence in Africa and around the globe. The organization has also developed a program for boys called Your Moment of Truth, which aims to change negative gender stereotypes that have been identified as a leading cause of violence against women. In addition, they teach the defense techniques to Kenyan grandmothers, another population vulnerable to sexual assault.
"This is the first time anyone's proven they could decrease the incidence of rape with a low-cost, simple intervention," said Jake Sinclair, MD, who co-founded No Means No Worldwide with Paiva, his wife. Sinclair is a pediatrician at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.
The subjects of the current study were 2,406 high school girls, ages 13 to 20, attending schools in impoverished Nairobi slums: 1,978 received 12 hours of empowerment training over six weeks, as well as two-hour refresher courses at t
|Contact: Erin Digitale|
Stanford University Medical Center