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The Baylor Impact is published quarterly by the Baylor School of Education.

The Baylor Impact
School of Education
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97304
Waco, TX 76798-7304

(254) 710-3111



Research to Help Our Communities:
Primary Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault

By Loeen Irons and Dr. Beth Lanning

While the country pours millions of dollars and hours of education into prevention messages - "Keep your doors and windows locked." "Always park in well-lit areas." - sexual assault and abuse continues to occur.

Community Health faculty Beth Lanning and Loeen Irons received a grant from the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children to develop primary prevention programming aimed at preventing assaults and eliminating circumstances that create abusers.

Using guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control, Baylor researchers conducted group interviews in Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill, Limestone and McLennan counties. Graduate students Brittany Devereaux and Emily Spangler rendered transcripts from each group.

When asked why sexual abuse/assault occurs in one's county, participants revealed a number of issues in their responses:

  • "Because within that culture abuse of women is tolerated."
  • "Because children in our county do not understand when to say no."
  • "Because predators in our county find ways to be involved in unsupervised child care."

Compiled data fuels two initiatives. One targets young men in fraternities and in athletics, emphasizing that men are key to prevention. The second initiative revisits two area counties to talk about cultural norms which influence and model behaviors within communities. Sometimes, cultural norms perpetuate sexual assault/abuse by reinforcing community member beliefs about traditional gender roles, power, violence or privacy. Example: The cultural norm "Boys will be boys" frequently is used to excuse abusive behavior.

The project's goal is to equip the Advocacy Center with data and programs to enhance primary prevention strategies.


Loeen Irons, second from left, and Beth Lanning, far right, visit with Advocacy Center staff

In This Issue

•  Welcome
•  In the first person: Kristal Lowry, EdS, LSSP 2007
•  New program advances: Baylor's PhD in Curriculum and Teaching
•  Research to help our communities: Primary Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault
•  Connecting with students: Back to the Future--Faculty Find Home in Campus Residence Halls
•  Investing in the Future: Rainy Day Fund Sustains Many SOE Opportunities
•  Impact Tomorrow
•  Downloadable pdf version

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