Gap initiative

Assault prevention programming in The Grove and beyond

 

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About our program

The “Gateway Assault Prevention” (known as GAP) initiative is an evidence based program designed to tackle assault issues in our St. Louis neighborhoods. The initiative is underpinned by hundreds of research studies highlighting bystander training, gender affirming efforts, accessibility of detection devices in bars and strategic messaging within bar environment as key components to keeping our community and businesses safe. Our program has been operating since 2020, offering a variety of assault prevention trainings and helping businesses in our community address safety needs. This initiative tackles the issue by aiming to make predators feel less safe and helping survivors feel supported with evidence based support tools — all while aiming to address related cultural competency issues. Our goal is to make lasting changes to the community that will address this issue both on the surface and root level.

cores strategies of the gap initiative

Bystander training

Gender Affirming Efforts

Strategic Messaging

Accessibility of Detection Devices

Our Story

 

Nation-wide self reported rape and/or sexual assault rates more than doubled from 2017-2018.  Unfortunately the response of law enforcement to sexual assault has created a serious justice gap. The sad reality is that only 15-20% of survivors attempt a report with law enforcement and about 50% of the time when someone does attempt to report their reports are never taken or investigated. Of those reports that actually do get taken only 22% to 25% are prosecuted, and only 10% to 12% lead to conviction. What more, research has found that 50% or more of victims who do report end up experiencing secondary trauma from the legal system in the process of reporting. With incidence of rape growing by leaps and bounds along side the unreliability of the legal system to protect people there is a growing need for community based prevention initiatives.

 

Peer-reviewed research indicates that 21–35% of college aged cis-men indicate some likelihood of raping if they could be assured of not being caught and that 63-95% of rapists are serial rapists. This statistic is unnerving. but it shows us that most offenders are showing patterned behavior and that we can potentially avoid a significant portion of sexual assault cases by just increasing the risk of being caught. To do so evidence suggests that bystander training, accessibility of detection devices in bars and messaging both denouncing drink spiking and encouraging enthusiastic consent can make predators feel less safe and address the issue.