Men Can Stop Rape empowers men to fight rape culture
By Walker Bristol
A common response, phrased subtly or outright, to the horrific story of sexual assault is to ask what the victim was wearing at the time, or how they carried themselves, or if they’d led their rapist on. Essentially, a modicum (or the bulk) of the blame is placed on the survivor, rather than the perpetrator. In a culture in which men still command significant privilege and power, and the vast majority of victims of sexual assault are women, fighting this “rape culture” demands that we educate and mobilize men.
Thus is the mantra of Men Can Stop Rape, our current Human Rights beneficiary. “To institutionalize primary prevention of men’s violence against women,” their Vision statement reads, “through sustained initiatives that generate positive, measurable outcomes in populations throughout the world.”
This quarter, your Human Rights donations will go toward two major projects, in addition to their wide array of training sessions and technical assistance nationwide. The first is The Strength Campaign, a comprehensive approach that reaches out to young men on all rungs of the socioeconomic ladder and “embraces them as vital allies with the will and character to make healthy choices and foster safe, equitable relationships.” This includes encouraging them to build MCSR-affiliated clubs in their schools and universities, developing Community Strength Projects on the local level to reach further outward, and wide-spanning public awareness campaigns.
The other primary campaign is an “action project” titled Healthy Masculinity. This project intends to illuminate the link between masculinity and violence in our culture. “Masculinity” here refers to our societal notions of the power and superiority of men—in strength, intelligence, sexual needs, and competence in almost every dimension—and works to break them down, to eliminate the stereotypes that oppress women and that lead to victim-blaming. This project works by bringing together some of the foremost organizations in the fight, including the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Men Stopping Violence, and A CALL TO MEN, as well as “more than 200 industry leaders from various sectors, including policy, business, education, and health” to examine the environment in which men are raised and taught to behave, and prescribe precise ways to reform this culture and decimate the power structures that bear the masculinity-violence link. Furthermore, the project will sponsor a Youth Leadership Summit, Town Hall Meetings, and a three-day intensive training session to mobilize Healthy Masculinity Action Project educators to hold presentations in schools on healthy, nonviolent masculinity.
MCSR is also sponsoring the 10th Annual Solutions Through Film Black History Month Film Festival on February 2, 2013, a festival organized by Men of Strength Club members from schools in D.C. and Baltimore. More information on the festival can be found on the MCSR website here.
If you want to get involved with MCSR beyond making a generous donation, visit the Become an Ally or Attend an Event pages on their website. MCSR and their ally organizations are not working to oppress or discredit men, but rather to empower them: to fight for the rights and safety of everyone, to build a healthier culture, and to show love toward all of our neighbors, reforming our society into one that we can all share fearlessly.