Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Men in the Movement--Part 3

Thank you all for continuing to follow this blog series. I'm so glad there are people out there reading these posts and learning how awesome and important men in the anti-rape movement are.

Today's question: What do you believe the future for men in the anti-rape movement looks like? Is there something that more male voices might do to change the culture?

A1: "We have to keep talking about rape and sexual violence, especially with young people.  We have to empower victims and witnesses of sexual violence to speak out and tell their stories.  We have to give people the tools to take action when they find themselves as bystanders of sexual violence.  And we have to prevent people from becoming perpetrators.  I suspect that some of my students are surprised when I talk so frankly about sexual violence.  I hope that by being unwilling to remain silent, I'm giving permission for all my students to engage.  We need to help as many people as possible come to question why sexual violence is so pervasive yet remains taboo."

A2. "I think men have a huge role to play. In particular, well known men with public personas. I really loved what Henry Rollins had to say about Steubenville, and I think we need a lot more voices like that. As a fan of hip-hop, I think about its stars a lot, and what they have to say. I like conscious music, and hip-hop that talks about real issues, instead of whips, guns, and slinging drugs (not to mention objectifying women). I think pop stars, athletes, actors, and other famous men should be a lot more vocal about violence against women. I know Macklemore is pretty well known for speaking out about gay rights, and I'd like to see more stuff like that regarding sexual violence against women."

A3. "I look at my two sons and I wonder what kinds of men they will grow up to be. I want them to be kind and compassionate people who are courageous to stand up to their peers when those peers perpetuate a rape friendly culture.  I need to move beyond a simple message of “It is NEVER ok to take advantage of a woman” to a more holistic approach. From the kinds of music we listen to, to the way masculinity is portrayed in media, there are many opportunities to critically view the messages they get. It isn’t enough to say “we are not listening to that”, rather we need to use these pieces as an entry point to how these messages create a culture that is permissive of rape.

Similarly more men need to take a stand. I think the issue of invisibility in sexual assault is really interesting. Many men, I hope, would take a stand if they knew a woman who was raped. However because of the stigma that is associated with being raped, many women are reticent about the experience. I’m not saying that a woman who was raped should do anything she’s not comfortable with, to do so would only compound the experience. Rather I am saying that men should not wait until someone tells them that they were a victim of sexual assault to join the movement. Because, honestly they probably already know multiple women who are survivors, they just may not know who those women are."

A4. "I think being a feminist needs to start becoming a default position for people that are not sexist. There are too many people, especially men, sitting on the fence. The position needs to become socially unacceptable. Men need to stand up and be counted. We often have a platform and position that women do not and should be using this to our fullest. I’d love so much for some famous men to come out publicly backing these movements. I believe the affect would be huge but distressingly “coming out” as feminist is something which a lot of guys feel uncomfortable doing."

A5. "The future looks bright – more and more young men are open to hearing feminist ideas, and that obviously has to do with women laying the groundwork for this consciousness raising in men over many years. In the wake of Newtown, and especially Steubenville, we will see more discussion in the media about manhood and masculinity as social constructs, and begin to see patriarchal masculinity deconstructed. The more men openly question patriarchy, and the more men stand against men’s violence against women, the more we will see a cultural shift towards gender equality."

A6. "The future of men in the anti-rape movement has to take shape as a more vocal voice for change. Right now I believe a lot of men who support a change in rape culture are silent, or pass it off as socially awkward behaviour (harassment) or justification (“She led them on.”)
It’s not enough that we support our friends who are harassed or assaulted, and it’s not enough that we don’t act a certain way ourselves. If we ever want to see change, real change in how rape culture is perpetuated through society men must be vocal. Not just reactionary expressions of disgust (Meagan Marie’s blog about an incident has several hundred supported posts) but a proactive, visible movement of men calling the harassers out on their behaviour without justifying it “he’s a decent guy...” and creating a dialogue that shows that misandrists are wrong about some men." 

1 comment:

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

These posts have made my life so happy. I'm blessed by the fact my boyfriend supports the decisions I make and even attends the crazy pro-choice rallies I drag him to. We need more men in the women's rights/anti-rape/women support movement! They exist!