Youth Primary Prevention Education (YPPE) aims at preventing sexual violence with a focus on promoting positive individual, relationship and societal behaviour. This prevention program targets adolescents aged 10 to 19 years. YPPE uses Safe Dates curriculum to ensure the targeted population understand the factors and circumstances that contribute to sexual violence. Safe Dates curriculum helps a lot in identifying strategies for prevention. In essence, the program supports the need to improve the connection between individual, relationship and societal factors —this will help them meet the protective factors from different domains.
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The internal team for the YPPE program will consist of parents, teachers, adolescents, school counsellors and therapists. For instance, parents will participate actively when it comes to highlighting some of the protective factors in recovery. School counsellors and therapists will be involved in guiding the treatment process at their schools. The external team members for YPPE program will include Healthcare providers including Nurse Clinicians and pharmacists. For instance, the Nurse Clinicians will play an important role of screening some of the patients.
Sexual violence is a serious stressor that affects health status of adolescents. The issue is more prevalence among adolescents in school populations. Women are at higher risk than men as far as sexual violence is concerned: one in five women experience sexual violence during their period in school. More specifically, sexual violence rates against adolescents aged 12 to 18 years are very high (Okafor et al. 2020). At the national level, approximately 8 percent of girls and 1 percent of boys below 18 years have experienced either rape or attempted rape.
The common types of sexual violence among adolescents include sexual coercion and harassment, sexual contact with force, and attempted or completed rape. According to statistics, adolescents are at a higher risk of experiencing sexual-related crimes than any other age group (Okafor et al. 2020). In addition to this, about fifty percent of all victims of sexual violence are women below the age of 25. More specifically, one in every six American women has experienced attempted or completed rape in her lifetime: 15 percent for completed and 3 percent for attempted.
Sexual coercion which is common among adolescents is described as unwanted sexual activity that occurs when one is pressured, tricked or harassed. In most cases, coercion makes adolescents feel they owe sex to someone. The common sexual coercion includes coerced intercourse, transactional sex, and unwanted sexual touch. According to Stanley et al. (2018), sexual coercion doubles as a public health problem and a violation of human rights. Based on statistics, at least one in three women around the world has experienced some form of sexual coercion in their lifetime.
In the effort to address prevalence of sexual abuse, YPPE program will ensure adolescents receive education appropriate to their developmental level. To achieve this, the program will utilize both the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Model and Safe Dates. First, MVP will train adolescents on role-play aimed at helping them construct viable options in dealing with violence (Bruno et al., 2019). They will learn about important skills such as defensive mechanisms that will help them establish their personal resolve on how to act and respond during any act of violence.
YPPE program will also reduce the prevalence of sexual violence among adolescents through Safe Dates curriculum. Safe Dates will strive to teach adolescents how to recognize red flags of dating abuse—it is made of a nine-session curriculum, and a play script (Wesche et al., 2021). The curriculum will help students identify some of the resources they require to deal with an abusive relationship. By utilizing this curriculum, YPPE will be able to teach the students to visualize how they want to be treated by their partners. Some of the activities offered in the program are aimed at changing adolescent dating violence and gender role norms as well as improving conflict resolution skills. Most importantly, YPPE, through Safe Dates curriculum, will change victim and perpetrator’s beliefs on the importance of seeking help.
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Culture has also been cited extensive as a major contributor of sexual abuse among adolescents. The rules of behavior and norms within a cultural group tend to encourage sexual violence. Some norms allow men to have total control over women. Therefore, YPPE, in effort to address the issue, will aim at building community resiliency and protective factors among adolescents. Similarly, this program will strive to raise awareness about the myths of sexual abuse. The program will work closely with the communities in identifying the root causes of sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse, especially for adolescents has been found to have long-term cognitive effects such as attention deficits. Another long term impact revolves around impairments in cognitive flexibility. Therefore, this program will provide trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in the effort to address the aforementioned effects. CBT will focus on the following areas: stigmatization, feeling of betrayal and powerlessness, and traumatic sexualization. The adolescents will receive training targeted at improving their coping mechanisms and ability to process traumatic memories. Similarly, CBT will help adolescents change their beliefs about guilt and trust.
According to research, sexual abuse can have long-term physical effects. “The body’s natural reaction to dealing with the trauma of sexual assault can have negative effects on a person” (Hailes et al., 2019). Therefore, YPPE program strive to ensure adolescents receive free screening aimed at identifying and preventing any possible complications. It is important to note that sexual abuse such as rape is associated with several chronic physical conditions such as chronic pelvic pain and intensive premenstrual symptoms. The program will empower adolescents to seek help through talk therapy.
The common resilience factors include connection to other people, communication and confidence. Resilience plays a critical role in recovery as it ensures the victim approaches the incident with an open mind—the victim will seek immediate help to speed up recovery. This program recognizes that the adolescents have resiliency factors that ought to be enhanced. Therefore, YPPE program will focus on enhancing the identified factors and, in the process, playing a role in proactive prevention. This will be undertaken through improving adolescent’s general knowledge and enhancing network of support.
Protective factors play a critical role in recovery following sexual abuse. The protective factors such as emotional health and connectedness work by lessening sexual violence victimization by buffering against risk. Therefore, the YPPE program will work closely with parents to educate them on the need to be actively involved in their children’s’ wellbeing. The parents will be educated on proper communication skills, especially those related to how they should interact with their children. They need to understand the role of social support in protecting their children against sexual abuse.