Historically, women have been at the forefront of efforts to end domestic and sexual violence. But that is changing and many men are stepping up to the issue. Many other men are well meaning and want to make a difference but don’t necessarily know what to do to shift social norms that define manhood in our culture and create a world where all people are valued and safe. Many guys have never even been offered the opportunity to help.
Many nationwide strategies typically address women and girls as victims or potential victims and portray men as perpetrators or potential perpetrators. Often the focus is on how females can avoid abuse by boyfriends or husbands or sexual assault by strangers or acquaintances. While this is valuable, these are risk-reduction, not prevention strategies: they teach females how to avoid victimization, but they don’t work to reduce the number of men who use violence or to assist males who are victims of violence.
Our agency is so grateful for and proud of everyone who has been and/or are currently engaged in changing that paradigm. And it is changing slowly but surely! We have begun to examine more strategies that get to the roots of gender-based violence (e.g. traditional roles/responsibilities of males; norms that may reinforce rape or sexist attitudes; gender socialization/raising healthy children, etc.) Please contact our agency to learn more. And gentlemen, we need and appreciate your help!
One of the programs that local male leadership has implemented with us is entitled, “Coaching Boys Into Men”. Designed by Futures Without Violence, it invites men to utilize their influence and unique position to prevent interpersonal violence. The core goal is to inspire men to teach boys the importance of respecting women and that violence never equals strength. It equips all participating with strategies, scenarios and resources needed to build attitudes and behaviors that prevent relationship abuse, teen dating violence, harassment and sexual assault. SEE: www.coaches-corner.org Jasper High School Football, Basketball and Baseball programs have collaborated with us for years in their use of the program. These athletes and coaches have also signed pledges that reads:
I believe in treating people with honor and respect. I know that violence is neither a solution nor a sign of strength. I believe that real men lead with conviction and speak out against interpersonal violence. I believe I can be a role model to others by taking this pledge. I pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.
Additionally, Jasper High School has implemented a Crisis Connection sportsmanship program for all athletes entitled STAND (Student Athletes Noticeably Determined).