About

The Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response is a confidential space open to the entire Harvard community where people can process and understand their experiences and feel empowered to make the choice best suited to their needs. Every staff member is a certified rape-crisis counselor, committed to the just and compassionate treatment of survivors and their friends, peers, significant others, and allies. We foster collaborative relationships between campus and community systems to ensure a survivor-centered, multi-faceted approach to advocacy services and primary prevention. 

We are committed to ending violence against all people by addressing gender inequity, social injustice, and oppression at all levels of the social ecology. To request one of the programs below or a custom program designed collaboratively with your group or department, please contact us.

View our brochure here!

Educational Programs Across the Social Ecological Model

Individual Level

1. Creating a Culture of Consent: The program aims to foster a common understanding of consent outside of the legislative and legal framework that allows individuals to safely and respectfully explore their ideas, attitudes, and behaviors. Participants are encouraged to reflect on the individual, familial, and community influences that shape their understanding of consent, gender roles, sexuality, and sexual behavior in childhood and adolescence. The workshop ends with ways to engage each other in creating safer, healthier spaces that are inclusive and equitable.

2. Deconstructing Gender: This program covers everything from gender identity to gender equity.  We review the significance of gender pronouns and conceptualizing gender outside a binary.  We look at how social concepts of masculinity and femininity influence our thoughts, behaviors, and values. By beginning at this point, we are able to establish that gender equity must be in reference to all genders, not limited to women and men.  Participants are asked to reflect on their own identities and guided toward an understanding of how these identities impact the relationships we build, the boundaries we develop, and how we understand and seek consent.

3. Neurobiology of Trauma: This program helps participants recognize the after-effects of trauma and its impact on cognitive functioning. We review the types of trauma, causes of trauma, and symptoms of trauma, by tracing the brain function stimulating emotion regulation, body responses, and behavior change at each stage.

Relationship Level

1. Sexual Literacy: The goals of this multi-platform program collaboratively developed by OSAPR and Health Promotion & Education are to increase access to medically-accurate information surrounding sexual health; improve knowledge and awareness around sexuality, consent, and the intersection with sexual violence; promote comfort in navigating difficult discussions about sexual activity with peers, potential partners, and professionals; and create a non-judgmental space for individuals to ask questions and acquire the necessary skills to promote respect and pleasure in all intimate relationships. This resource is for students, staff, and faculty throughout our Harvard community. 


2. How to Support a Survivor: This program helps individuals understand why language matters and how to listen radically when responding to a disclosure of interpersonal violence. Stemming from the knowledge that the first response may hinder or help a survivor, the program teaches participants a language of respect and support that ultimately empowers survivors to make individual choices about what is helpful for them throughout all stages of their healing process.


3. Upstander! - This program explores how to positively intervene in situations that pose a threat to the physical and emotional safety of others and oneself. It not only provides tools for participants to “stand up” when an incident of sexual assault or harassment is about to occur, but also encourages participants to become “upstanders” against systems of oppression, which allow sexual and gender-based violence to persist in the first place. Workshops in this program discuss a series of scenarios and cases that aim to foster participants’ understanding of how to prevent immediate threats of harm and to become ambassadors for social justice.

Community Level

1. Party Savvy: A reboot of a collaborative program between OSAPR and AODS addressing the intersection of alcohol and sexual assault. Discussion centers around “scripts” for gender, sex, and intoxication, and how they intersect. These scripts refer to cultural narratives adopted through socialization. Gender scripts describe behaviors and attitudes expected of an individual based on their gender assigned at birth. Sex scripts refer to expectations about the ways we are supposed to pursue or participate in sexual relationships. Intoxication scripts are based on beliefs about the effects of alcohol on behavior.

2. Media Literacy: This program educates participants about how to critically engage with media (TV, movies, newspapers etc.) in order to detect instances where sexual violence is normalized, women are objectified, and myths surrounding sexual assault, gender, and sexuality are reinforced. The Media Literacy program aims to not only train individuals to recognize harmful media portrayals surrounding gender and sexual violence, but also encourages them to actively challenge these trends.

Society Level

Intersectionality and Anti-Oppression: This program explores the interlocking identities and systems that shape each individual’s mobility, access, and well-being, as well as how to understand the roots of harm from an anti-oppression framework. The workshop helps participants understand how the resourcing, allocation, and leveraging of privilege and power  - historically, culturally, and institutionally - contribute to barriers for marginalized and underrepresented populations. Through small-group activities and critical reflection, participants learn how to leverage privilege and employ their voice to transform relationships, communities, and institutions into safer more equitable spaces.