Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2012 was full of trainings, workshops, and community strength projects for Men Can Stop Rape and Men of Strength Clubs across the country. Here’s just a taste of all we were up to during April:
High school students at the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy - Capitol Hill have spent the last week participating in a Community Action Projection on Sexism, Gender and Sexism. Students have discussed concepts such as oppression and patriarchy to examine the role gender plays in their lives. They also discussed how certain constructions of masculinity and femininity perpetuate a rape culture in which victims are blamed for crimes committed against them. On the last day of this workshop, students worked with Jason Page, Men Can Stop Rape’s Director of Community Education, to examine their assumptions on how certain actions (such as street harassment) can contribute to gender-based oppression. The students now look forward to the second week of the workshop in June, in which they will take their learning and turn it into service and advocacy based projects that will transform the culture they live in.
American University MOST Club cosponsored a talk by former NFL player Don McPherson on the role language plays in constructing unhealthy masculinity. MOST Club members also took part in the annual Take Back the Night march.
At George Washington University, MOST Club cosponsored Take Back the Night Week which culminated in a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event where men walked a mile in high heels to raise awareness about sexual assault. MOST Club also held a Where Do You Stand? Bystander Intervention Training where MOST Club members and Men Can Stop Rape staff discussed intervention techniques and the role bystander intervention takes in preventing violence against women.
At Georgetown University, MOST Club members helped table and raise awareness about sexual assault on Denim Day.
University of Hawaii-Hilo MOST Club held several events in April as part of their StandStrong initiative. For StandStrong, MOST Club is partnering with 40 local businesses to create the StandStrong discount card for anyone who attends MOST Club trainings and events. MOST Club held a poetry slam in April with proceeds going towards a local YWCA. They also held a bystander intervention training at the end of the month featuring renowned researcher Alan Berkowitz.
Men Can Stop Rape trainers and trainers from our Speaker’s Bureau went across the country from Maryland to El Paso, TX to share their expertise in engaging men to prevent violence against women. We also had trainings with police on three different campuses during the month of April, and we will continue our partnership with law enforcement across the country at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in May.
Men Can Stop Rape has been honoring Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month with a flurry of activities at the end of February that engage all levels of society for meaningful change. These activities symbolize MCSR's utilization of the Social Ecological Model for meaningful change. This model recognizes that individuals do not exist in isolation, but within a complex web of influences defined at the levels of relationship, community, and society. We believe the most effective way to create change is by interacting at all levels of the social ecological model. To see how else our MOST Club members are engaging the community, see the Community Strength Projects page.
On Friday February 24, Men Can Stop Rape hosted an intergenerational discussion about hip hop, violence against women, and young men’s civic engagement. The event was part of MCSR’s partnership with the Hip Hop Caucus in their Respect My Vote! Campaign. The Hip Hop Caucus organizes young people to be active in elections, policymaking, and service projects. This dialogue is the first in a series of events leading up to this year’s election aimed at getting young people involved in the electoral process and in their communities.
On Tuesday February 28th, two MOST Club members engaged in international violence prevention efforts through the United Nations Girl-Boy Dialogue, a part of the 56th Commission on the Status of Women International Conference. Kareem, 17, from School Without Walls in Washington, DC and Percy, 12, from City Springs School in Baltimore, MD travelled to New York City to join youth from around the United States and the world. They were joined by Senior Director of Programs and MOST Club Mentor Kedrick Griffin and City Springs MOST Club Mentor Antoine Lewis. The Dialogue focused on economic empowerment for men and women and the students discussed what economic empowerment means to them, what economic empowerment looks like in their states and countries, how economic empowerment will look in the next five years, and what young people can do to promote economic empowerment. In talking about the next five years, Kareem stated, “Internationally, women will continue to be deprived of the same opportunities as men unless we work together to change change this.” Percy said that he learned from the Dialogue “…no matter what your gender is you should be treated equally.”
On Tuesday February 28th, Executive Director and MOST Club Mentor Neil Irvin engaged in preventing violence against women in national policy by participating in the 4th Annual Capitol Hill briefing on raising awareness of and preventing teen dating violence. The panel was hosted by Futures Without Violence and was driven by the vision of Futures Without Violence President Esta Soler (pictured above with Neil). Neil was also joined by representatives from the YWCA, the American School Counselor Association, and Jewish Women International. Speakers at the briefing included Joe Torre of Major League Baseball and the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation and actress Gabrielle Union. The Briefing was hosted by Senator Michael Crapo, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Representative John Lewis (pictured above with Neil), Representative David Reichert, and Representative Gwen Moore.