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Empowerment Self-defense - Reduced Past-year Sexual Assault Prevalence


Strategy researched

Empowerment self-defense to bolster self-confidence and verbal and physical safety skills in order to prevent sexual violence perpetrated again adolescent girls and young women

Impact achieved

The IMPower programme showed a reduction in 32% of the occurrence of sexual assault in the past year among students who participated compared to students who did not take part. Students who participated were 3.33 times more likely to have knowledge in self-defense, compared to the control group. In the intervention group, 43% of girls said they had used the programme-learned skills to stop forced sex since training. Of the girls who used the skills, 52% reported using the learned skills more than once to stop forced sex. An additional 53% of girls reporting using the skills also to stop harassment, and 52% reported using the skills to stop physical violence.

Country of study


Research methodology

Cluster RCT with 7,832 students


BMC Public Health; 2018

Journal paper title and link

Sexual violence among adolescent girls and young women in Malawi: a cluster-randomized controlled implementation trial of empowerment self-defense training

Excerpt from Abstract

"This intervention reduced sexual violence victimization in both primary and secondary school settings. Results support the effectiveness of ESD to address sexual violence, and approach the elimination of violence against women and girls set forth with Sustainable Development Goal #5. Implementation within the education system can enable sustainability and reach."


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  • Published since 2010.