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Four Things Men Can Do To Help Stop Sexual Assaults

How can men get involved in the fight against gender violence?

  1. Join Brown’s Sexual Assault Peer Education (SAPE) Program! In this program, Brown students are trained in a nationally recognized bystander intervention model, “Bringing in the Bystander.”  Students then pair up and provide workshops to the Brown community about how to be a pro-social bystander and step in to stop sexual violence. Click here to learn more about SAPE and how to join the program
  2. Approach gender violence as a men’s issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Men can be empowered bystanders who confront abusive peers.If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner — or is disrespectful or abusive to women in general — don’t look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. If you don’t know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. Don’t remain silent.
  3. Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. The reality is that we all have to go through a process of unlearning sexism. Try not to be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward changing them.  If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help.
  4. If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help now. You can call Psychological Services at 401.863-3476 to speak with a therapist and get help.  Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence. Support the work of campus-based women’s centers. Attend “Take Back the Night” rallies and other public events. Raise money for community-based rape crisis centers and battered women’s shelters. If you belong to a team, fraternity or another student group, organize a fundraiser.  Don’t fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Protest sexism in the media.

Developed by Jackson Katz, founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program. These four are just a taste of the power men have to influence stopping sexual violence.

Charlotte Bailey wrote a great article for The Sacramento Bee.  She writes:

“All women deal with misogyny and sexism to some degree.  Usually, it leads nowhere…”  The incident at Isa Vista when Elliot Rodger rampaged through the college killing six students  and himself is a prime example of a hate-filled manifesto in which he…”blamed women for his unfulfilled personal life…”

Then there was an outpouring on Twitter saying don’t blame women.  There followed a recurring argument that women should take responsibility too. Then, as Charlotte puts it there was an ‘online counterpunch.’  There followed thousands of stories of “domestic violence, workplace harassment, and rape.”

“Mainstream media reports validated the Twitter posts with some troubling statistics:  51.9 percent of women will experience physical violence at some point in their lives, 1 in 5 women is the victim of sexual assault on college campuses, and only 12 percent of rapes are actually reported.” (My statistics are at least 1 in 4 on college campuses).

She goes on to say that men responded with blaming women for what they wear, being drunk, don’t ask for it, etc.  It is true that women need to play an active part in the solution to the problem by getting educated, maybe learning self-protection skills, and I put a side bar of other things to help them protect themselves in my book.  These are all good, but the rapist is the rapist.  In addition I support what she writes when she says:

“The point is, it is not enough to not rape.  We need men engaged and vigilant, taking an active role in reshaping the culture toward one of respect.  We must shift away from victim-focus responses to an approach that includes men.”  (I bolded this statement)


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