Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Leadership Trainings
Sexual violence, sexual harassment, relationship abuse and other forms of gender/power-based violence are widespread problems that affect countless students on U.S. college campuses. At Not Alone @ the Beach, we advocate the MVP model: if we are to change the culture that facilitates violence, then every CSULB member—students, faculty and staff—must get involved in changing the social, cultural and institutional norms that support abusive behavior. Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) trainings include a focus on the role of bystanders. Known as the “bystander approach,” the central idea behind this paradigm-shifting strategy is that everyone in a given peer culture has a role to play in supporting victims, confronting abusers, and helping to create a climate in which abusive behavior of any type will not be tolerated. Experienced MVP trainers lead highly interactive sessions and discussions that encourage men, women and other participants to interrupt their peers’ abusive behaviors, to talk and ask questions about the dynamics of their relationships with their peers, and explore the ethical implications of various courses of action. Unlike other bystander programs, MVP pedagogy encourages discussion of gender, sexual, racial/ethnic norms and other factors that in many cases impact both abusive behavior and the likelihood of effective interventions. MVP’s short-term goal is to prevent assaults. But the long-term goal of MVP is to change the underlying belief systems and social norms that tolerate or encourage misogynous and abusive behaviors. The MVP model has been proven effective with middle and high school students (Katz, Heisterkamp & Fleming, 2011), college student leadership groups (Eriksen, 2021), among college student athletes (O’Brien, 2001), and in military settings (Hollingsworth, Ramey, & Hadley, 2011).
At NATB, we partner with the CSULB Leadership Academy to provide MVP Strategies leadership trainings for student leaders. These one-day, intensive leadership trainings are designed to provide student leaders with an immersive experience in MVP philosophy and methods. Our aim is to enhance the leadership capabilities of influential peers—in student government, student organizations, Greek life, residential life, athletics and others—by helping them to see themselves as leaders in the critical area of gender/power-based violence prevention. MVP Strategies trainings help student leaders to develop greater awareness and understanding of sexual assault and relationship abuse issues, prepare them to act in response to a variety of bystander situations, and build their leadership capacity to proactively catalyze social norms change with their respective peer subcultures. Since 2015, over 1,000 CSULB students have completed MVP leadership trainings. MVP leadership trainings have also been provided to CSULB athletic coaches and athletic administrators, and to university administrators.
Currently, the CSULB Leadership Academy offers one-day MVP leadership trainings at least once or twice each semester. We also partner with campus organizations and agencies to offer MVP leadership trainings to your particular constituency, and can tailor components of the MVP trainings to address the specific dynamics in your peer and/or work culture.
Goals of MVP Leadership Trainings
- Goal 1: Increase awareness about some of the unique dynamics and underlying issues involved in the ongoing social problem of men’s violence against women, and other forms of power-based, interpersonal abuse.
- Goal 2: Encourage participants to think critically and empathically about these issues.
- Goal 3: Empower participants to develop concrete options for intervention in a variety of situations/scenarios.
- Goal 4: Help participants become proactive leaders around these issues, on and off-campus.