As a recent college graduate and a facilitator of George Washington University’s Campus Men of Strength (MOST) Club, Men Can Stop Rape’s college men’s anti-violence group, I’ve seen firsthand the horror and the hope of sexual violence on college campuses. I say horror because of the statistics: 1 in 4 women will experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault by the time they leave college. I say hope because of the growing network of college men taking a stand and saying NO MORE to sexual violence in college.
This is my first year in transition from student activist to facilitator of student activism, and I couldn’t be more proud of the students I’ve worked with and their efforts to make violence against women a men’s issue on their campus.
In our first year, we’ve grown from two members and a listserv of freshman who signed up only to get a slice of pizza, to a robust group of young men who are facilitating peer education sessions on bystander intervention, planning video projects, and occasionally protesting anti-feminist speakers. The group’s presence is surely being felt as we’ve had multiple students enthusiastically seek us out and try to find their role in preventing violence against women –an exciting shock to me as my undergraduate days were often spent cajoling and prodding students to come to their first meeting.
This story is not atypical, as men in MOST Club chapters and other programs across the country are educating their peers every day about sexual assault and acting as leaders to create campuses free from violence. They are working as close allies to their female peers who have been doing this work for decades. We know that the vast majority of men are opposed to the sexism and violence they see on campus and in the media, and our meetings and events make that fact evident to me every week. If you just give college men the right forum for their activism, then you will also have my hope that we can stop the epidemic of violence against women on college campuses.
This post was submitted by Jared Watkins, the Development Coordinator at the national men’s violence prevention organization and NO MORE steering committee member, Men Can Stop Rape. For more information on Men Can Stop Rape, visit www.mencanstoprape.org.