Railroaders Against Violence Everywhere

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This manual provides guidance for replicating or adapting the RAVE model developed by Warren & Washington Counties participating in the New York DELTA Project. The RAVE model engages high-school age young men, the adults in their environment, and their entire school community in social norms changing. RAVE's vision is to mobilize young men to become peer leaders in their school to help prevent violence against women by promoting positive masculinity based on strength without violence. RAVE is designed as a safe place where male youth learn about domestic and dating violence and its roots in traditional gender norms, learn alternatives to the harmful aspects of traditional masculinity, make decisions about how they want to be in the world as men, and get support from their peers in making positive decisions. Based on this work within the group, R.A.V.E. members are able to act as peer leaders in their school, using leadership strategies and bystander intervention to help effect changes in school wide norms. A significant portion of the RAVE model also focuses on developing the capacity of the adults in the school (or other youth setting) to support the young men in this work, including adults taking actions to implement school/community level norms changes such as Teen Dating Violence Prevention & Intervention Policy.

Goal: The RAVE model engages high-school age young men, the adults in their environment, and their entire school community in social norms changing. RAVE's vision is to mobilize young men to become peer leaders in their school to help prevent violence against women by promoting positive masculinity based on strength without violence. The replication manual was created to document program development, demonstration project implementation, and evaluation of the RAVE model as community partners involved in developing the model became ready to replicating the model in additional school districts/ youth settings in their community.

Events associated with the program include: lecture/discussion, retreat, camp, conference, school wide campaign, and more.

“When looking at the youth models available throughout the nation, program we saw few that were dedicated to engaging young men (male youth) -- most of the school-based programs seem to be mixed gender. We feel there is a need for more models at the high school level for this male engagement. There is something special about providing this safe space for young men to do this work, in a setting where they can take risks and explore the tough stuff."

Impact: "We measured the impact of RAVE on the individual RAVE members, and on the school community, via our formal evaluation methods. RAVE members, when compared to non-RAVE boys in the same school, had a greater increase in positive knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors about domestic violence, gender and dating norms, healthy alternatives to the harmful aspects of traditional masculinity, and willingness to be involved in making a difference in their school. In the words of boys, girls, and adults in the school, RAVE helped create messages opposing violence against women and girls within the school-wide social norms. The evaluation steps we took included pre- and post- surveys with RAVE members and a comparison group; and focus groups with a variety of groups of students and adults in the school. Our evaluation report is available to be shared upon request.”

Feedback: "One of the anecdotal signs of success of the RAVE model, was when, several years into the experiment, 'RAVE-like' became an adjective used in the school and the larger community! Students (including students who were not a part of RAVE, and even in other schools) would say that someone or an action taken was 'RAVE-like' or 'not RAVE-like.' At that point we knew meaning had been assigned to the word RAVE, that it was becoming a phenomenon. In addition, the saying 'RAVE is a process, not a pill' emerged to describe the fact that the young men members of RAVE were engaged in a process of change that did not happen overnight. This was a helpful reflection on the experience of young men at this point in history, and the fact that this primary prevention engagement work is long-term work, relationship-building work, not a one-time presentation."


Copyright: Credit must be given to the Warren & Washington Counties (NY) DELTA Project; the Domestic Violence Project of Warren & Washington Counties, a program of Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren & Washington Counties, which convened and led this local DELTA Project and authored the manual; and the state-level funder, NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence.


  • Manual was originally developed to assist with replication of the RAVE model in local school districts with training and support from the local DV program.
  • Developers of the model found it is critical to engage the adults as well as, and preferably prior to, engaging the youth. They caution that taking a "shortcut" and leaving off the adult engagement part, by only running the male youth engagement piece, will likely not be effective. “We learned form experience the importance of having adults supporting the male youth in this work, in reflection of the Social Ecological Model. It doesn't make sense to expect male teens to stand up and be leaders on this issue, if the adults in their environment are not willing to do so. This is not about "fixing kids". It's about supporting young men to be leaders of change in their generation and giving this a chance to work by building the environment of support, of change, throughout the larger school community.”
  • Developers of the model reflect upon doing the work within a larger anti-oppression model. “It helps to make those connections, is validating to members of other oppressed groups in the school, helps to builds alliances, and is an additional way to keep this work from feeling like it's "male bashing" by connecting it to all forms of oppression. Youth doing this work often want to take a stand against racism and homophobia, for example by challenging the use of the expression "that's so gay" by peers. This is great -- this helps them make the connections and act as broader anti-oppression activists.”

Training: The RAVE model is premised on the existence of a close relationship between a school/youth setting, and a qualified training/TA provider. Ideally, this is a domestic violence service provider with expertise in primary prevention and engaging men & boys. Also, key school and community personnel who will be key leaders within the project implementation should undergo the Strength Training by Men Can Stop Rape; ideally this training will be brought to the school campus so that all adults who work in the school can experience it. If not, those who attend the Strength Training can return to campus and lead a training for the other adults. Adult men who step up to be leaders within RAVE must be willing to 'do their own homework'; this will involve a transformative process for them selves.”

Capacity: See Section 7 of the manual, School Readiness, for a discussion of this. In particular: Dedicated staffing with specific skill development in engaging men and boys, youth-led models, primary prevention of intimate partner violence; and willingness for the school as an organization to commit to the process of social norms changing at the organizational level, such as policy implementation.

Cost: Implementing this program does have budget implications. See Section 7 of the manual, School Readiness. Of note: In order to dedicate staff to RAVE, schools must have the ability to indicate that RAVE leadership is a significant function within those faculty persons' designated salaries, or pay additional stipends for the additional staff time. Funds must be dedicated for the training/TA the school will receive from the provider. Budgeting must be in place for the annual RAVE Retreat, an overnight weekend-long leadership and team-building retreat for RAVE members. Budgeting must be in place for various smaller events throughout the schools year, posters and other materials, and a key school-wide event or "awareness week" annually. It is helpful to budget for the provision of snacks/food for RAVE meetings/events.

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