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From Outrage to Action: Men Can Stop Rape's Response to Maryville

The setup of the Maryville, MO case is all too familiar: An act of sexual violence caught on camera and passed around a school; a small town willing to protect its young men at the expense of its girls; and a nation outraged that things like this still happen. By now, we’ve got the script for responding to these types of events down perfectly: sexual violence happens across America in towns big and small, even if we don’t hear about it; the root causes of sexual violence lie in unhealthy notions of masculinity; we must teach our boys healthy masculinity and the power of bystander intervention if we are to end sexual violence; and we must prioritize responding to and preventing violence against women at all times, not just when a tragedy hits the news cycle. Many of us will demand justice for 14-year-old Daisy and her unnamed 13-year-old friend, some action may or may not take place against the perpetrators or the town that protected them, and we will shift our outrage to the next tragedy.

The overriding themes of this case will be broken down by many intelligent people and organizations in this field in the next few days. As usual, we see victim blaming, a “boys will be boys” attitude, and reputation being prioritized over the health and safety of girls. What I hope to do today, though, is give concrete steps to prevent these types of tragedies and turn outrage into real change. From your family’s living room to the halls of our national, state, and local governments, there are things we can do every day to prevent the next Maryville or Steubenville.

  • Be a role model for boys and young men. Too often, we let high profile men in popular culture tell our boys how to be men. We can all teach boys that real strength isn’t about power and control, but about standing up for what’s right and building better communities.
  • Learn and teach bystander intervention skills. Research tells us that the bystanders in Steubenville and Maryville knew what was happening was wrong but didn’t know how to stop it. Boys and men are especially reticent to intervene in situations involving violence against women. Teach all young people to trust their guts and speak up in a safe manner.
  • Incorporate age-appropriate education about healthy masculinity into school curriculums. Our boys are missing crucial lessons on social-emotional intelligence, healthy relationships, and healthy sexuality. All boys can benefit from this education in their emotional and intellectual lives, and our communities especially benefit from boys and young men who can peaceably resolve conflicts and form healthy platonic and romantic relationships.

These are a few of the lessons we’ve learned from working with boys and young men in the last 16 years. There’s more we can do to stand up for Daisy and the countless other unnamed girls and women affected everyday by sexual violence than clicking “Share” or “Retweet.” Take today to learn more about how you can get involved in responding to and preventing sexual violence. When the next Maryville happens, you’ll be moved to continue talking about sexual violence, to keep the health and safety of young people prioritized, and to keep working toward the day when we can really be outraged by a single incident of sexual violence because it is so rare.

Jared_bioJared Watkins is the Development Coordinator at Men Can Stop Rape. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 202-534-1835.

 

 
Help Bring Healthy Masculinity into the Curriculum this School Year
September 9, 2013

Dear Friends,

neil-graduatesIt’s easy to concede that we can’t afford to dream big. It’s tempting to try to scale back: fewer MOST Club mentors, less schools, less impact. But when we see the power MOST Club has to change lives and improve communities, we know we have a responsibility to reach as many boys and young men as we can. By supporting MOST Club this year, your gift will have more power than ever before.

Back in 2000, when the first Men of Strength (MOST) Club formed at Ballou High School, seeing 15 young men sitting in a circle talking about healthy masculinity and preventing violence was my vision of the perfect future. Thirteen first days of school later, my vision for the ways MOST Club can impact young people nationwide has expanded.

Instead of a single circle of 15 young men, we envision whole schools of male students, taught by a network of specially-trained teachers and staff, in a co-curricular class on healthy masculinity and the prevention of violence against girls and women. This fall we will pilot the MOST Club as a co-curricular class to all male students at a charter school in Washington, DC. Imagine the change 600 MOST Club members can create in their neighborhood.

I used to dream about bringing our youth development expertise to girls and young women-to have girls and boys of all ages working as allies to make a more peaceful and equitable world. Club WISE (Women Inspiring Strength and Empowerment) is expanding this year and, with your support, will be in as many as 14 schools in DC with many more Clubs to form in the future. This past summer, we worked with children as young as seven, and we will continue to emphasize working with girls and boys throughout the lifespan, including working with teen fathers.

I used to dream about just 15 young men whose lives I could change. Now I dream about a whole nation of young men seeing healthy masculinity in action, learning social-emotional intelligence, and becoming MEN OF STRENGTH. Now I dream about schools that value young men’s strength like they value math and reading. Now I dream about communities where violence against girls and women is a thing of the past, where young men are positive forces for peace and equity. But these are all still just dreams without your help. With your donation, you can help incorporate MOST Club into school curriculums, empower girls and young women to realize their strength through Club WISE, and make real impact in the lives of young men and women nationwide.

We need your gift to spread these innovations from our hometown to yours. The young people we work with always say that MOST Club feels like a family. This family is about to get a lot larger and I can’t wait to welcome the new members. Can I count on you to join us?

Please donate today link

Sincerely,

neil-signature

Neil Irvin
Executive Director

P.S. Donate today to support MOST Club and give boys and young men across the country the opportunity to learn true strength through healthy masculinity.

Men Can Stop Rape is an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) organization (Tax ID #52-2007652).
Your contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

 


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