Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Richard Walsh-Bowers

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


There are few examples of sexual assault education interventions within the high schools. Research about programmes delivered at universities indicates that the programmes do not change the rape-supportive beliefs of participants (Lenihan, Rawlins, Eberly, Buckley, & Masters, 1992). A criticism of these programmes is that students do not participate in their own learning. A curriculum-writing team at the I-Ialton Board or Education developed two lessons on sexual assault as part of the grade nine “Healthy Sexuality" curriculum. The sexual assault lessons were then piloted with three grade nine classes. After delivery, six to eight students from each class participated in focus groups in which they were asked what they liked and disliked about the units. They were also asked what they envisioned for a senior course on sexual assault prevention. For both curricula, students recommended the need to emphasize the sensitive nature of the material; the relevance of employing experiential learning techniques (role plays, small group activities); and, the use of positive male role models in sexual assault scenarios. Additionally, for the senior course, students indicated they wanted more statistical facts associated ‘with this crime; information about the link between societal pressures (e.g., media, socialization) and sexual assault; knowledge about what to do after an assault; and, information about sexually assaulted men. Teachers and community health workers were also asked for their input into the curricula and most of their recommendations were adopted. This thesis reflects the process of creating sexual assault prevention curricula and explores the issues of community participation, imbalance of power, value discrepancies, and the lack of support for the participants experiencing the curricula. Recommendations concerning curriculum development are discussed.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season