One-in-Four: curing the campus sexual assault epidemic

One out every four women in college has been raped or experienced an attempted rape. One-in-Four is also the name of the national organization that strives to eradicate this statistic through the education of college men. The national umbrella organization oversees fifteen college chapters that work to change the mindsets of college-aged males by helping them understand how to help women recover from rape, increasing awareness of bystander intervention and challenging men to change their behaviors.

The One-in-Four chapter of CofC. This team works to educate young men on rape awareness in order to create change in the campus community. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Derryberry)

The One-in-Four chapter of CofC. This team works to educate young men on rape awareness in order to create change in the campus community. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Derryberry)

College of Charleston’s chapter of One-in-Four is headed by Jonathan Derryberry. Derryberry believes the organization has the power to make incredible changes in the college community. The chapter consists of a team of males who present rape awareness information to other males on campus and who get involved in community events to raise awareness. “This way of presenting male-to-male has been shown to be extremely effective because it teaches directly to the environment where rape culture is most prevalent,” Derryberry said. Research shows that this program not only teaches men how to help women recover from rape and increases their empathy toward female rape survivors, but men with higher risk of committing rape who see the program’s presentation commit less sexual assault than men who do not.

Derryberry emphasizes the necessity of reaching out to young men in order to solve this campus rape epidemic. “If men are educated on what sexual assault is and of the signs of it,” he said, “then they can also use some of the methods we teach so they can step in and prevent it.” One of the main themes One-in-Four discusses in its program presentation is the role of bystanders. By teaching the warning signs of sexual assault, One-in-Four creates groups of young men who are active bystanders capable of intervening and preventing it.

Many rape incidents happen at college parties and social events where women are more vulnerable, Derryberry said. “Signs could be if some guy is forcing a girl to drink, or if a guy is sort-of cornering a girl with a conversation and not letting up,” he said. “Maybe a guy keeps touching a girl and she keeps trying to subtly get him to stop —or if she’s too out of it to try and get him to stop — as well as many other signs and scenarios that we go through.” The most important thing for One-in-Four participants to do is be aware of what is going on around them. If they see a situation escalate, the bystander should step in and take control.

The One-in-Four team poses with Robin LaRocque from the Office of Victim Services who has helped start this chapter. One-in-Four is a national organization with fifteen college participants. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Derryberry)

The One-in-Four team poses with Robin LaRocque from the Office of Victim Services. LaRocque  helped start the CofC chapter. One-in-Four is a national organization with fifteen college participants. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Derryberry)

Derryberry said the main point that One-in-Four teaches is to get the girl away from the potential offender as soon as it is clear there is something going on. “There are different methods to this,” Derryberry said, “depending on what stage it’s at and how well you know the people involved. If you know the girl but not guy, go ahead and walk up to her and say you’ve been looking for her, or you can suggest that her friends have been looking for her. If she’s completely out…a good tactic to use is to walk up and tell the offender he is a really great guy for trying to get her home safely, and offer to help him. This puts him in a position where he is more likely to go along with it since you have called him a good person for doing so.” Every potential sexual assault situation is different, though, so One-in-Four teaches men to be universal bystanders.

College of Charleston’s unique demographic allows for One-in-Four to be even more successful. Due to a skewed ratio of boys to girls, by reaching out to a few of the men who attend CofC, the chapter is already more effective. “Because of this ratio,” Derryberry said, “guys are almost certainly going to be very close platonic friends with at least one female student, and since we go over how to console a rape victim in the presentation, it gives that female student a good person to confide in.” This program breeds young men who are advocates for females. By reaching out to the male population at CofC, the number of sexual assaults can decrease.

One-in-Four is accepting applications from young men interested in joining the team. If you are interested in applying, contact the CofC chapter at oneinfouratcofc@gmail.com

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Jessica Wilkinson is a feature writer at CisternYard News. She is a sophomore majoring in Secondary Education and History with a minor in Political Science. In her free time, she can be found binge-watching Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars on Netflix, doing Muay Thai Kickboxing and spending as much time as possible on Pinterest. She aspires to be the best history teacher your kids will ever have while spending her summers writing and traveling the world.


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