American Sociological Association

Sociology in Action: Allison Foley

Allison Foley, Augusta University, worked with the Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services in Augusta, GA. She collaborated with the organization to adapt the curriculum of an internationally implemented sexual violence prevention program for use at an elementary school level. ASA asked Foley about that work:

What is the mission of the organization? Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services provides advocacy and counseling services to victims of sexual violence throughout our tri-county area.

Could you describe the project? My colleagues and I adapted the curriculum of an internationally implemented sexual violence prevention program (PROMUNDO's Program H) for use at an elementary school level. To our knowledge, this was the first time a PROMUNDO-based program--an organization based in Brazil--was implemented in the United States. We partnered with Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services to implement the program to two cohorts of 4th and 5th grade boys and evaluated the program using a pre- and post-test design and qualitative interviews. The program has now been implemented twice as a school-based program and twice as a community-based program at a local Boys and Girls Club, with an external funding source recently approving two years' worth of ongoing funding.

What sociological knowledge and/or skills did you use? We used our knowledge of sociological research methods to conduct proper evaluation research. This included constructing a survey, conducting face to face interviews and analyzing data. In addition--and very important--our sociological knowledge of first, the causes of sexual and relationship violence and second, the challenges associated with a social structure that socializes children to uphold traditional gender roles and expectations was a necessary foundation for creating the specific lessons that make up the program curriculum.

How did you connect with the Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services? I came to know this organization via the sexual assault awareness month programming that takes place on our campus each April (e.g., Take Back the Night).

How long did the project run? Two years.