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“Men commit the overwhelming majority of sexual violence.
If men aren’t engaged, then there’s no hope,” he says.
* Editor's note: Check out a special Facebook chat with education reporter Stacy Teicher Khadaroo on how men are standing up and speaking out against sexual violence. “Someone thought that we were making a joke out of it ...
At noon on a Monday this past April, Alex Stepanek and some of his brothers from Sigma Phi Epsilon set up a big seesaw in front of the student union at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. and we just explained [that] victims of sexual assault don’t stop being affected by the event ...
And he did.”More research is needed to determine how effective bystander training is.
But several programs, ranging from MVP, based at Northeastern University in Boston, to Bringing in the Bystander, based at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, have been shown to increase students’ awareness of gender-based violence and boost their ability to identify and intervene in problematic behavior among their peers.
And many college men have started their own peer educator groups.For 24 hours, they took turns tipping up and down to draw attention to their yearly Sexual Assault Awareness Week events and their giant jar to collect money for a local crisis shelter.“The biggest response we get is, ‘You guys are a fraternity. so the least we can do is seesaw for 24 hours.”For this fraternity chapter, taking a stand against sexual violence goes far beyond wearing teal (the color of sexual assault awareness).Most of the members have trained as peer educators, and they take on the subtle work of changing the culture.But research has shown the promise of bystander education – helping people speak up or step in when they see violence or the precursors to it – so reaching out to men has become a focal point on many campuses.“There’s an increased sensibility that this is not just an add-on or a new flavor-of-the-month trend,” says Jackson Katz, cofounder of Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP).The organization pioneered bystander training related to sexual assault two decades ago, largely among male coaches and athletes.
About 90 percent of violence that women experience is perpetrated by men, he tells them, quickly adding a reassurance: “I don’t feel guilty. But I do feel responsible.”They look at a series of statements, walking to different parts of the room if they agree, disagree, or are unsure.