Rock Ethics Institute offers toolkit addressing sexual violence issues

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State is offering an Anti-Sexual Misconduct Toolkit for educators on its website. Educators can use the toolkit to bring the compelling and highly relevant issues of binge drinking, consent and campus sexual assault into the classroom.

"As members of the Penn State community, we all have a stake in addressing issues of sexual violence," said Sarah Clark Miller, associate director of the Rock Ethics Institute and associate professor of philosophy. "In continuing the spirit of Penn State’s Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, this toolkit of online resources and activities will benefit our community by helping educators teach about issues of sexual violence, enhance class discussion and improve learning outcomes throughout the school year."

The newly launched toolkit is specifically designed so that educators can incorporate the broadly relevant and timely issues of sexual misconduct and violence into the classroom. This accessible, engaging and thorough toolkit contains links to a wealth of informational and multimedia resources. A section containing statistical data on victims, perpetrators, and the different types of sexual assault details the frequency and manner of sexual violence.

Through the toolkit, educators have access to critical issues involved in sexual misconduct, such as alcohol and consent, primary prevention, bystander intervention and dangerous myths about sexual violence.

Educators can use the toolkit to bring the compelling and highly relevant issues of binge drinking, consent and campus sexual assault into the classroom. A core focus of the toolkit is educational efforts aimed at primary prevention, which addresses the underlying societal attitudes, beliefs and values that promote rape culture. Bystander intervention activities encourage students to think about how they can prevent sexual violence before it takes place.

Class discussions countering myths about sexual violence with facts are particularly effective as they empower students to educate others in their communities. All links to classroom activities include a brief description of how they can be used to support class discussion, self-reflection and learning.

The Anti-Sexual Misconduct Toolkit was created by the PRISM group (Penn Staters Researching Interventions for Social Misconduct) under the direction of Andrew Peck, senior lecturer and associate director of undergraduate studies in psychology, and with additional consultation by the Rock Ethics Institute.

"Currently, the PRISM group is investigating ways to reduce student sexual misconduct,” Peck said. “We are learning about students' attitudes, understanding of sexual consent, and perceptions of sexual availability. We are using that information to develop educational tools Penn State faculty and staff can use to benefit the campus community. The Anti-Sexual Misconduct Toolkit contains information educators can use to design lessons about sexual misconduct, tips and considerations for discussing sexual misconduct with students and short PowerPoint presentations educators can mix-and-match to support a wide range of related discussions."

The Rock Ethics Institute also features an online crisis resource for students who have been victims of sexual violence. The Immediate Crisis webpage provides information on seeking medical attention, emotional support and legal assistance. It also offers links to a variety of local, state and national resources. Additionally, the site includes links to resources specifically for male and LBGTQ (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, questioning) victims of sexual assault. The Rock Ethics Institute is currently developing educational resources for students and bystanders as well as for scholars working in the area of ethics and sexual violence.

The Rock Ethics Institute is an international leader in supporting innovative teaching and research in ethics. Sexual violence has been a recent focus of the institute. The institute welcomes feedback on the resources contained on the webpage and in the toolkit via email at

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Last Updated May 19, 2016