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Support Men Can Stop Rape This Father's Day
Jay_Kennedy_Rec_-_CopyFather’s Day holds a special significance here at Men Can Stop Rape. As one of the leading organizations working with men and boys to prevent violence and promote gender equity, fathers and fatherhood come up often in our discussions of masculinity with young people. In one of our exercises, we ask young people to name the “Strongest Man” in their life: the man who has always been there for them and helped shape their values. It is truly heartbreaking to see young people who were eager to list why James Bond is a “Real Man” fall silent when asked to name a man who made a real difference in their lives.

Fortunately, this is not the norm. Young people will tell stories about how their father, uncle, grandfather, coach, teacher, or other male figure taught them the importance of kindness, showing emotions, or standing up for what’s right. The Strongest Men in their lives aren’t strong because they are stereotypically masculine; they’re strong because they stand as an example of inner-strength. The most important lesson to take from this exercise, I think, is that we are all fathers and mothers to the young people in our communities. As men and women working toward creating cultures free from violence, we all have a responsibility to be active in the lives of young people, be it through volunteering, practicing healthy fatherhood, or role modeling bystander intervention in the face of sexism and violence against women.

As the Men of Strength (MOST) Club celebrates another Father’s Day in its storied existence, I reflect on the countless young men I and our other MOST Club Mentors have impacted. I’m proud to say that many young and adult men would call me the Strongest Man they know. I’m proud to say that many young and adult men would call their MOST Club Mentor the Strongest Man they know. I’m proud to say that the young men I met at our very first MOST Club meeting in 2001 are being called the Strongest Man by boys and young men they’ve impacted in their communities. I’m proud to say that every May and June, we send off graduating MOST Club members who will be strong fathers, coaches, scientists, business owners, artists, and leaders of the future. They will bring about a society where men and women work together as fathers and mothers of a world without violence.

This year is an opportune time to look to the future as issues like the presidential election and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act ask us to examine our priorities. We must prioritize children and young people if we want violence to end. We must ask ourselves how we can be better parents on every level: to our own children and to the children of our community, state, nation, and world.

This Father’s Day, give for one of those young men who cannot name a strong man in his life. Give in honor of the strongest man in your life. Give so that the next generation of fathers can model healthy masculinity and strength without violence. Give to Men Can Stop Rape today.

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Neil Irvin Signature

Neil Irvin
Executive Director
Men Can Stop Rape

P.S. Help spread healthy masculinity by supporting the Healthy Masculinity Action Project and attending the Healthy Masculinity Summit October 17-19 in Washington, DC. Learn more here.

Men Can Stop Rape Observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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.

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