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Self-defense training for Kenyan girls reduces rape, Stanford/Packard study finds
Date:6/12/2013

ing to admit that they were raped. Victim-blaming is the norm." Sinclair and his wife, Lee, co-founded No Means No Worldwide and have developed sexual-assault prevention curricula for several audiences in Kenya, including self-defense programs for girls and women, and educational programs to help boys recognize the harm inflicted by sexual assault.

The subjects of the study were 522 high school girls, ages 14 to 21, in two impoverished Nairobi slums: 402 received 12 hours of self-defense training over six weeks, as well as two-hour refresher courses at three-, six-, nine- and 10-month intervals; 120 in a comparison group received a one-hour life-skills class that is the current national standard in Kenya. Before and 10 months after the training, both groups answered anonymous questionnaires about their recent experiences of rape.

At the start of the study, nearly one in four girls reported that they had been forced them to have sex in the prior year; 90 percent of the victims knew their attackers. The study focused on rape and did not assess the entire range of behaviors classified as sexual assault under U.S. laws.

Among girls who received self-defense training, 56.4 percent used the skills they learned to fend off attackers in the subsequent 10 months. Of these girls, half used verbal skills alone, one-third started with verbal skills and added physical skills, and 17 percent used physical skills alone. Not only did total assaults drop sharply, but assaults by the two most common groups of perpetrators, boyfriends and relatives, decreased significantly. After receiving training, girls who were raped were more likely to seek help following an attack.

In contrast, among girls who had life-skills classes, the proportion who became victims of rape remained about the same.

"We were pretty stunned that the self-defense training was so effective," Sinclair said. "From the testimonials we collected, we saw that even a small gir
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Contact: Erin Digitale
digitale@stanford.edu
650-724-9175
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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