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Letter: What men can do to prevent sexual assault

Sexual assault has a profound effect on individuals, campuses, our society and throughout the world. Sexual Assault Awareness Week is an important reminder to men of our responsibilities in preventing sexual assault. While most men do not commit sexual assault, almost all sexual assaults are committed by men. While some boys and men are sexually assaulted, most sexual assault survivors are women. Historically, women have led the efforts to prevent sexual assault but it is clear that it is our responsibility as men to step up and become involved in prevention work.

Unfortunately, many men struggle with accepting this responsibility, perhaps because of the lack of awareness but more likely because of the shame and guilt. Most men respond to shame and guilt by becoming defensive and ignoring and/or disengaging from the issue. This is exactly what is not needed. We need to confront our defensiveness about this issue and become involved in preventing sexual assault.

Men who are administrators, coaches, faculty, staff and student leaders have a special responsibility to stand up and speak out against sexual assault. We need to be role models for younger men regarding the importance of preventing sexual assault. If we don’t make a public stand against sexual assault we are allowing male perpetrators to represent our gender. Additionally, by being silent and inactive we are inadvertently colluding with perpetrators.

Furthermore, we must support survivors of sexual assault by letting them know that we as men are aware of and are working to address this issue. Conversely, the silence, denial and inactivity of men and institutions can further traumatize survivors.

An important way in which all men can publicly show their support is to attend the 100 Men March this Wednesday, April 25 at 12 p.m. in the Lillis Business Complex. Be that guy. Accept your responsibility as a man and walk with us.@@http://uodos.uoregon.edu/@@

Jon Davies@@http://uonews.uoregon.edu/archive/news-release/2012/4/uo-men%E2%80%99s-center-sponsors-fifth-annual-run-%E2%80%9Cbreak-cycle%E2%80%[email protected]@ and John Phan@@http://uonews.uoregon.edu/archive/news-release/2012/4/uo-men%E2%80%99s-center-sponsors-fifth-annual-run-%E2%80%9Cbreak-cycle%E2%80%[email protected]@
University Men’s Center

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