Answered by ProtectHer Founder Alexis Jones
Why did you create this program? What’s the point?
ProtectHer believes that in order to safeguard the dorm rooms, we first must activate the power and influence of the locker rooms. And with 1 out of every 5 young women on campus being the victim of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses, the need for this program has never been greater. By recognizing the greatest influencers on campus, male athletes, and speaking to them in a relevant way, ProtectHer is directed at being the only sexual assault prevention curriculum targeted to make tidal change.
Who wrote your curriculum?
We commissioned Barri Rosenbluth who runs the Expect Respect program at SAFE Alliance. She’s as legit as it comes. We also vetted our program with other organizations who have paved the way in this arena. Sara and I are the professional storytellers who wanted to bring this project to life with badass media, but we left it to the experts for the actual knowledge of how to create successful, effective programs with measurable impact. In fact, check out our logic model here.
I see that each school has to provide a moderator for the program? Is that more work for us?
The consistent feedback we got from the athletes themselves is that they wanted to actually TALK about this stuff and wanted a coach/ or someone they liked and trusted to moderate it. That being said, as we have tailored this entire program to what coaches and athletes are asking us for. So yes, we provide all the tools for you to choose the best moderator from your school and a guide to have that moderator feel comfortable with the content. We didn’t want to simply give each school fish, we wanted to teach them HOW to fish so that the coaching staff is being educated along with these young men.
Where did the name, “ProtectHer” come from?
ProtectHer is not implying women are weak or that we need men to “protect us” as though we can’t protect ourselves. ProtectHer is an invitation to all of humanity to better respect girls and women.
Who is Alexis Jones and what makes her an expert here?
(For the record this is the only question not answered by Lex herself as she said it 'felt awkward to talk about herself in third person,' so a member from our team did the honors)
Alexis received her Masters from University of Southern California at the age of 21, founded a successful women’s empowerment non-profit, wrote a book, have traveled to 52+ counties, hiked 150 miles to the base camp of Mt. Everest having broken her hip at mile fifty. She organized and hosted the most globally steamed TEDxWomen’s event of 2014, executive produced a film that won 10 awards from 9 different film festivals, worked on shows airing on CBS, MTV, ESPN, Fox Sports, and TLC and have spoken at places like The White House, Harvard, Stanford, SXSW, Sundance, NIKE, ESPN, DELL and Pepsi. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what she’s “done” that’s potentially impressive, it’s the fact that she cares about this issue and has brought together the dream team to tackle big social issues and that is what ProtectHer is: our humble contribution to being part of the solution.
Will buying this program prevent all sexual assault in our locker rooms? Can we get a guarantee?
Absolutely not. We know that 1 out of 5 girls will be sexually assaulted on a college campus. And truthfully with incredible digital reporting systems like Callisto, reporting and sexually assault stats will go up before they ever go down. That being said, we believe that ProtectHer IS preventive medicine and is absolutely a step in the right direction of shifting our society’s culture to be one that is more respectful of women. We believe that education is the only way to address social issues and we also believe that ProtectHer is the best program out there communicating to young male athletes on the role they play in this issue.
Why is this program only for male athletes when everyone on campus needs it?
ProtectHer was born out of the urgency of coaches asking us to create this program for their locker rooms.
Why ProtectHer—when men are assaulted as well as the LGBTQ community? Do you only care about women?
We care about ALL people! We know that 1 out of 16 men will be sexually assaulted in college and that the numbers are worse in the LGBTQ community. That being said ProtectHer is but a starting place for us and we are initially focusing on HER, because violence against women is a house on fire. We are speaking in heterosexual stereotypes and that is not to be insensitive or to exclude other gender identities. We realize to be truly successful we cannot be all things to all people, so this is but a starting place.
What makes you different from every other program out there?
From award-winning filmmakers, tenured researchers, and tech entrepreneurs, the team behind ProtectHer has been involved in both film festivals and prevention programs around the world. Our understanding of the needs of the Athletic Programs, the issues and trends, and of digital delivery, will ensure creating a first-of-its kind entertaining, thought-provoking educational program with the potential to change history for the issue. We wanted our program to feel like something these young men would watch on TV, so they would actually care and pay attention. We also aren’t afraid to be edgy and strategically “inappropriate” for the sake of meeting these young men where they are actually at instead of using language that sounds like an academic robot. Working directly with head coaches and athletes themselves, we feel like we were able to tailor make a program that will actually engage and educate these young men with real life skills they can implement off the field/court.
Do you actually believe that any one program can make a real difference?
We do and it has. We have heard from players, coaches and parents about the real difference they either saw in young men or experienced first-hand after a ProtectHer talk. Our team also designed this program with researched tactics to ensure that this is not only entertaining but also has measurable impact.
Why do you start in college and not younger? Isn't college too late to start having these conversations?
This is but a starting place for ProtectHer and was based off the immediate demand we had from coaches, directly. Already we've received requests from middle schools, high schools, National Leagues, military, parents, youth groups, correctional facilities/prisons, and corporations asking if we could create a ProtectHer program for them. So YES, the need is everywhere! If I could wave a magic wand, we'd create a tailor-made program for each community overnight. That being said, to reiterate our belief system: we believe that in order to be truly successful, you can't be all things to all people at the same time. Hence why we are STARTING with male, college athletes.
How do you measure success? How do we know it's working and we're not wasting our time and money?
As part of the curriculum, we have follow up questionnaires for the moderator at the beginning and end of each of the four parts. This enables us to gain insight and data on whether we have had an impact on knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and our long-term goal, impact on their behavior. We also will use this information towards program evaluation to further develop our program and demonstrate effectiveness.
I heard there are curse words in your content. (It feels unprofessional and inappropriate). Why do you use such strong language?
The truth is, we use the same language young men are using in locker rooms, not because we are “stooping to their level” but because it’s a powerful and effective way to strategically communicate and disrupt their preconceived notions of what a “sexual assault prevention program” looks like and sounds like. We also believe that we can’t afford to be “PC” on this issue. If coaches and teachers are concerned about language choice, we like to remind them that the majority of these young men learn about sex through porn, so nothing we say is going to shock them. We speak to them on their level, using their terminology because part of our challenge is taking taboo out of language so we can get to the root of the conversation.