Project IX is the only nonprofit consultancy providing under-resourced schools with high-end solutions to gender-based violence – without the high-end cost. This fills a critical void in the public healthcare safety net. While affluent schools can afford to hire expensive experts to help them prevent and respond to what CDC calls a “very serious public health problem that affects millions,” less wealthy schools cannot afford these costly consultants.
That’s why we founded Project IX. We work directly with schools to reduce the acceptance and tolerance of sexual violence and sexual assault. But for every school to get the help they need – regardless of their ability to pay – we need your support.
With donor support, Project IX has the potential to expand our impact over the coming years, scaling faster and helping more schools implement transformative policies. Our vision is that each campus we help can become a driving force for bringing about greater societal change on issues of sexual violence.
A Critical Need
Sexual Violence Takes a High Toll
CDC has identified sexual violence as a serious, widespread public health problem with severe physical, mental, and economic costs to individuals and society. These costs are both short and long term. Gender-based violence causes ongoing sexual and reproductive health issues. It also causes psychological symptoms including PTSD, social impacts that have lifelong implications such as relationship or schoolwork disruptions, and health risk behaviors that may increase the likelihood of further victimization.
Schools Are On the Front Lines
Studies show that sexual violence happens at schools from kindergarten through college. According to a 2017 Associated Press study of federal crime data, schools are the second most common sites for juvenile sexual assault by peers. And the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics' Campus Climate Study has confirmed an epidemic of college sexual assault.
- 17,000 sexual abuse reports found by AP in K-12 schools*
- 55% of LGBT students feel unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation**
- 23% of undergraduate women report unwanted sexual contact****
- 5% of the sexual violence reported by AP involved 5-6 year olds*
- 2nd most likely site for sexual assault by peers is school*
Under-Resourced Schools Need Help
Under-resourced schools often lack the guidance they need to combat this epidemic, because they cannot afford the high costs most consultancies charge for identifying and implementing solutions to gender-based violence. And there are lots of under-resourced schools. As reported by Moody’s Investors Service,one in three small private colleges had operating deficits in 2016. And among public schools at all levels of education, most states have cut funding and many are continuing to make cuts.
Project IX believes that leaving this large percentage of schools at risk for sexual violence is an unacceptable public safety threat. Tens of thousands of students across the United States are educated at under-resourced institutions, and these students should not be less safe, or be excluded from learning to be more respectful of others, simply because of the wealth of the institutions they attend.
Effective, Customized Solutions
Addressing a Social Challenge
Every year, thousands of young people in K-12 schools across the nation face sexual harassment and assault, including rape – as the AP reported in 2017. For college students, the numbers are equally high. Most often these are attacks by peers. Many incidents go unreported due to realistic fears of the bullying and continued victimization that accusers may face from peers, or due to fears that they will not be heard or supported by authorities.
While there is an expectation that schools will keep their students safe, in practice there are gaps when it comes to gender-based violence. Educators at under-resourced schools are often left untrained to prevent assault or to properly handle allegations that one of their students has sexually assaulted another. While they are legally required to report such accusations to the police, many lack the skills to respond in ways that minimize harm.
Providing a Proven Intervention
It’s critical that under-resourced schools are able to receive the tools and training they need to stand strong in their prevention and response to incidents of sexual violence. CDC reports that “weak laws and policies” related to sexual violence are risk factors for perpetration. Going further in their 2016 manual, STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence, CDC states that “improving safety and monitoring in schools” has been shown to have “a beneficial impact on rates of sexual harassment, other SV, and dating violence among students.”
Project IX has the recognized expertise in both law and education to deliver the kinds of clear policies and sound practices that have proven to be effective in preventing and responding to sexual violence. The first-line benefits of this are obvious. Victims receive the services and support they need, while accused perpetrators are dealt with fairly. But the ripple effect goes far beyond this. As CDC’s technical package outlines, some of the many farther-reaching potential benefits of school-age intervention include:
- Reductions in perceived tolerance of sexual harassment and violence in communities
- Reductions in sexual harassment
- Increases in indicators of community connectedness
- Increases in feelings of safety in one’s school, workplace, or neighborhood
- Reductions in rates of SV at the community level
- Reductions in bullying and other youth violence
- Reductions in teen dating violence
Better Outcomes at a Lower Cost
Project IX takes a hands-on approach that is highly collaborative and completely customized. We encourage inclusion of stakeholders across both campus and community. This helps us develop economical solutions that maximize use of existing resources. It also strengthens buy-in, making decisions more likely to be fully enacted and supported.
We leave schools with the tools, skills and confidence they need to self-sufficiently manage their process without further consulting expense. In an upward cycle of benefits, our carefully executed approach results in better outcomes at a lower cost – which also means that we use donor funds very efficiently.
Together We Can End Sexual Violence In Schools
School-age years are a critical window for positive, life-changing interventions. By providing support for Project IX to bring our proven process to more schools, you are helping students grow into respectful citizens who will contribute to reducing sexual harassment in their communities and workplaces. You are helping to end the acceptance of a culture of sexual violence and harassment.
Rarely is an opportunity to give so directly beneficial. Our students and our communities thrive when we foster an environment of mutual respect and personal responsibility. Funds raised through Project IX will allow more under-resourced institutions to provide the kind of fair process, clear rules, and properly enforced accountability that bring about lasting institutional, individual and community transformations.
The High Cost to Institutions, and to Individuals
Consider these statistics:
- $1M: Cost of largest school-age victim damages claim°
- $1.1M: Cost of largest school-age perpetrator damages claim°
- $81,000 - $138,000: Average personal cost per victim of single sexual assault°°
- $267,000: Average societal cost per rape°°°
A Less Expensive Solution to a Costly Problem
Between Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2015, one of the nation’s largest insurers of educational institutions paid out nearly $31M in sexual assault claims. That averages out to more than $6M per year. Add in the dozens of other companies that also cover schools, and we can reasonably project annual losses in the tens of millions.
Prevention is always less expensive than payouts – and Project IX provides training, education and implementation that is expertly focused on reducing exposure and preventing unnecessary and costly losses to schools and their insurers. We develop solutions that maximize use of existing resources to achieve positive results without costly or ongoing expenditures. And our customized collaboration with each school helps overcome barriers to effective implementation, further reducing exposure.
We know that K-12 and college years are critical windows for intervention within safe environments. But under-resourced schools are currently not being well served. Project IX has the proven ability to positively impact many more schools, and we seek funding to close the service gap. In an upward cycle of benefits, our process results in better outcomes, lower costs and minimized liability risk.
* Source: 2017 AP survey conducted between fall 2011 and spring 2015
** Source: GLSEN 2013 National School Climate Survey
**** Source: 2015 survey by the Association of American Universities
° Review period: Jan. 1, 2011 – Dec. 31, 2015)
°° DeLisi et al., 2010, and see also Post, Mezey, Maxwell at al., Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2002
°°° McCollister et al., 2010