Men Can Stop Rape seeks to mobilize men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence, especially men’s violence against women. In 1997, the founders of Men Can Stop Rape pioneered a different way of addressing the epidemic of violence against women. Though the majority of violent acts against women are committed by men, the vast majority of prevention efforts are risk-reduction and self-defense tactics directed at women. The founders wanted to shift the responsibility of deterring harm away from women by promoting healthy, nonviolent masculinity. Their vision offered a plan for prevention that outlines positive, proactive solutions to engaging men as allies, inspiring them to feel motivated and capable to end men’s violence against women.
More than a decade later, Men Can Stop Rape continues to mentor male youth and successfully mobilize them to prevent men’s violence against women and other men; inspire young men to create their own positive definitions of masculinity, manhood, and strength; develop healthy relationships with others; embrace the concept of personal responsibility; work in partnership with female peers; and do their part to end violence and build safe communities. Men Can Stop Rape has grown tremendously in capacity and scope – inspiring a new generation of leaders for change across the country. The young men come to understand the complex ways that stereotypical notions of race, gender, and sexual orientation can restrict definitions of masculinity, and how creating broader, more equitable definitions benefit both themselves and other women and girls.
The MOST Club mentoring program for young men was established in 2000 and has grown from one site at Ballou High School in Washington, DC, to over 100 locations throughout ten states: the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York City, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, and California.
The MOST Club was named one of the most promising “50 Strategies to Prevent Violent Domestic Crime” by the National Crime Prevention Council, and the program has continued to garner increased recognition in the field. In 2010 Vital Voices – cofounded by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton – described the MOST Club as “one of the most innovative prevention programs in the United States;” In 2009 the New York State Department of Health produced a request for proposals and listed the MOST Club Curriculum as one of six national curricula that could be used by applicants for their prevention programs; and the February-March 2010 issue of Our Children, the national PTA magazine, featured an article on the effectiveness of the MOST Club. The program has also received accolades from The Ms. Foundation for Women, the DC Catalogue for Philanthropy, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
In 2009, Men Can Stop Rape successfully convened over three hundred professionals, advocates, and activists for a two-day national conference. “Men and Women as Allies: A National Conference on the Primary Prevention of Men’s Violence Against Women” was a first for the primary prevention field. High profile media coverage, as well as billboards in Times Square and Las Vegas, has also strengthened Men Can Stop Rape’s visibility and credibility.