|Sexual Assault Awareness Month Press Release|
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BOYS AND YOUNG MEN NATIONWIDE UNITE TO END VIOLENCE FOR APRIL, NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH
Leading men’s prevention organization, Men Can Stop Rape, leads national initiatives to stop violence against women before it starts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 4, 2012 – In honor of April, National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Men Can Stop Rape, a leading national organization mobilizing boys and men to prevent violence against women, is ramping up efforts to stop sexual assault, and all forms of violence against women, before it starts. Men Can Stop Rape will be engaging boys and young men in prevention efforts across the country, reaching them in middle and high schools, colleges, and at community events with their proven, curriculum-based prevention programming, educational trainings and awareness campaigns.
Sexual violence is an urgent public health problem that impacts millions of women and men each year. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that nearly 1 in 5 women (22 million) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives. Nearly 1 in 2 women (53 million) and 1 in 5 men (more than 25 million) have experienced other forms of sexual violence at some point in their lives1. Additional research suggests that patterns of sexual abuse are beginning as early as middle school. A new survey, commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, of more than 1,400 7th graders showed that more than half of students in the sample had already been victims of sexual harassment2, with the average age of respondents being 12 years old.
A core component of Men Can Stop Rape is their Men Of Strength (MOST) Club, a school-based, 22-week curriculum for 11-18 year olds that emphasizes the importance of healthy, non-violent masculinity among young men. In use for over a decade, an adaptation of this program, Campus MOST, is also being implemented among college men with renewed focus this month on how students can step up to prevent sexual assault.
“National Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an important time for us to reach new audiences with critical information about how men of all ages can work to prevent sexual violence in our society,” said Men Can Stop Rape Executive Director and gender-based violence prevention expert, Neil Irvin. “Male bystanders have a huge role to play in this effort because simple actions on their part – being aware of their surroundings, and speaking up if they see a potentially dangerous situation - can stop sexual assaults and other acts of violence before they even happen.”
This message is at the heart of Men Can Stop Rape’s newest intervention movement called Where Do You Stand? which is empowering college men to speak up and prevent violence on campus.
Where Do You Stand? uses a variety of media materials including billboards, posters and t-shirts, depicting common and potentially dangerous scenarios faced on campus along with provocative messages that illustrate how easy it can be for men to step-in and prevent violence. Where Do You Stand? also uses bystander intervention trainings and peer-education sessions that equip men with the necessary skills and tools to intervene.
Universities across the country have already requested the new Where Do You Stand? intervention materials and trainings. To kick-start their April efforts, Men Can Stop Rape will be on the ground, educating college men about how they can start using this innovative programming to make a difference on their campuses:
April Campus Trainings:
Additionally, partners from the District of Columbia Office of Victim Services have joined Men Can Stop Rape with the goal of distributing Where Do You Stand? materials to campuses city wide.
On April 4th, Neil Irvin will speak at the book signing of Rachel Lloyd, author of, “Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself.” Irvin will discuss Men Can Stop Rape’s role in the prevention of sexual exploitation and human trafficking and spoken word artist Jonathan Tucker will showcase original work. The event is open to the public and will take place at Busboys and Poets in D.C. at 6:30 p.m.
Later this month, Men Can Stop Rape will join policy makers and violence prevention advocates on Capitol Hill to announce the launch of a new initiative that is uniting men’s organizations nationwide to end violence against women by teaching communities about healthy, non-violent masculinity. The Healthy Masculinity Action Project (HMAP) is a multi-component, year-long initiative designed to reduce violence against women, increase national dialogue on the link between violence and society’s expectations of men and masculinity, and build support for a new generation of male leadership who will model strength without violence. Men Can Stop Rape is spearheading this first of its kind, national effort, along with partners from Futures Without Violence, A Call to Men, Coach for America and Men Stopping Violence.
This April, Men Can Stop Rape is taking a pro-active role in raising awareness about the importance of educating men to prevent sexual assault, but Neil Irvin believes that this is only the beginning.
“National Sexual Assault Awareness Month is the one time during the year, barring incidents of tragedy, when this topic is put into the national spotlight,” says Irvin. “But the important thing to remember is that preventing sexual assault is something we all need to focus on year round. We can’t wait for next April, or for the next act of violence to occur. Prevention starts here; and it starts with individuals and communities working together to educate the public before it’s too late.”
For more information about Men Can Stop Rape, visit www.mencanstoprape.org.
(2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1 (2012). Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships Outcome Evaluation Baseline Data. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI International, commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Blue Shield of California.2