10 THINGS MEN CAN DO TO PREVENT GENDER VIOLENCE
- Approach gender violence as a MEN'S issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers
- If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner -- or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and 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. Or if you don't know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. DON'T REMAIN SILENT.
- Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don't 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.
- If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help NOW.
- 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 or fraternity, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.
- Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing. Discrimination and violence against lesbians and gays are wrong in and of themselves. This abuse also has direct links to sexism (eg. the sexual orientation of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key reason few men do so).
- Attend programs, take courses, watch films, and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the root causes of gender violence. Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.
- 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.
- Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don't involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men's programs. Lead by example.
Copyright 1999, Jackson Katz. www.jacksonkatz.com
All men can play a vital role in rape prevention. Here are a few of the ways men can help:
WHAT MEN SHOULD KNOW AND CAN DO
Be aware of language. Words are very powerful, especially when spoken by people with power over others. We live in a society in which words are often used to put women down, where calling a woman a "bitch," "freak," "whore," "baby," or "dog" is common. Additionally, in college acceptable language when referring to women and men is commonly “guys” and “girls.” This implies inferiority of women. Such language sends a message that females are less than fully human. When we see women as inferior, it becomes easier to treat them with less respect, disregard their rights, and ignore their well-being.
Communicate. Sexual violence often goes hand in hand with poor communication. Our discomfort with talking honestly and openly about sex dramatically raises the risk of rape. By learning effective sexual communication -- stating your desires clearly, listening to your partner, and asking when the situation is unclear -- men make sex safer for themselves and others.
Speak up. You will probably never see a rape in progress, but you will see and hear attitudes and behaviors that degrade women and promote rape. When your best friend tells a joke about rape, say you don't find it funny. When you read an article that blames a rape survivor for being assaulted, write a letter to the editor. When laws are proposed that limit women's rights, let politicians know that you won't support them. Do anything but remain silent.
Support survivors of rape. Rape will not be taken seriously until everyone knows how common it is. An estimated 302,100 women and 92,700 men are forcibly raped each year in the United States (Tjaden, P. and Thoennes, N., November 1998). By learning to sensitively support survivors in their lives, men can help both women and other men feel safer to speak out about being raped and let the world know how serious a problem rape is.
Talk with women. about how the risk of being raped affects their daily lives; about how they want to be supported if it has happened to them; about what they think men can do to prevent sexual violence. If you're willing to listen, you can learn a lot from women about the impact of rape and how to stop it.
Talk with men. about how it feels to be seen as a potential rapist; about the fact that 10-20% of all males will be sexually abused in their lifetimes; about whether they know someone who's been raped. Learn about how sexual violence touches the lives of men and what we can do to stop it.
Offer Help. If you see someone being pressured or harassed, offer to help. Even if the person turns down your help, it sends the message that the way they are being treated is not okay.
Off to the side— “Do you need help getting rid of this person?”
“Wanna use my phone to call someone to come get you?”
Question Behavior. When a friend is going to cross the line:
“If you get her drunk to get her to hook up with you, that’s assault. Don’t be stupid.”
“If they didn’t say they wanted to, how come you didn’t ask?”
Organize. Form your own organization of men focused on stopping sexual violence. Men's anti-rape groups are becoming more and more common around the country, especially on college campuses. If you have the time and the drive, it is a wonderful way to make a difference in your community.
Work against other oppressions. Rape feeds off many other forms of prejudice -- including racism, homophobia, and religious discrimination. By speaking out against any beliefs and behaviors, including rape, that promote one group of people as superior to another and deny other groups their full humanity, you support everyone's equality.
Don't ever have sex with anyone against their will! No matter what. Although statistics show most men never rape, the overwhelming majority of rapists are male. Remain aware that the absence of a “no” in a sexual situation, does not imply consent. Make sure you are clear that your partner is fully consenting because she or he wants to before you have sex. And consent must be reached before each separate sexual act along the way!a Make a promise to yourself to be a different kind of man -- one who values equality and whose strength is not used for hurting.
-Information used from the Sex Matter’s Website at EasternOregonUniversity, Copyright 2006.