Sexual Violence and Relationship Violence

Information for Men and Allies

Why Men Care

"Every time a man's voice joins those of women in speaking out against rape, the world becomes a safer place." -Unknown

  • Men can rape.
  • Men are raped.
  • Men's loved ones, family members, and even friends are raped.
  • Rape confines men - it is impossible to distinguish men who are safe from the ones who are not. As a result, relationships become guarded and are sometimes approached with fear and mistrust.
  • Men know survivors - Ignorance about rape can hinder the healing process while a supportive male presence during a survivor's recovery can be invaluable.
  • Men can stop rape - Rape is a choice some men make to use sex as a weapon of power and control. Other men may think of sex as a game of conquest and that it is the male role to "get sex any way you can." To stop rape, men who are violent, or have the game/conquest concept of sex, must be empowered to make different choices. All men can play an important role by challenging rape-supporting attitudes and behaviors in the men around them.

How to Be a Respectful Sexual Partner

  • When someone says no, respect the decision not to move forward.
  • Do not proceed with sexual conduct unless your partner says "yes" or indicates by some overt act that she/he is interested in proceeding.
  • Understand that you may not know the history of the person with whom you are engaging in sexual behavior. The effect of your ignoring possible subtle or not-so-subtle signals may be more negative than you can comprehend.
  • Know the sexual assault laws and understand the laws about alcohol use and consent to sexual activity.
  • Understand that consent means a "yes" or an overt action. Do not make assumptions. If you are unsure, ASK. If you are too embarrassed to ask, perhaps you are not mature enough to be participating in sexual behavior.

What Men Can Do

  • Approach sexual assault as a MEN'S issue. See yourself not only as a possible offender but also as an empowered bystander who can talk to his peers and change attitudes.
  • Speak Up! If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is being disrespectful to a partner/date by using derogatory or degrading names, call him out on his behavior.
  • Be courageous. Look at your own attitudes. Think about how your actions may inadvertently hurt someone or perpetuate sexism. Work to change those attitudes and actions. Don't have sex with anyone unless they say yes or give you an overt signal. When in doubt, ASK.
  • Help survivors. If a friend has been the victim of sexual assault, including acquaintance rape, listen without judgment. Gently ask what you can do to help.
  • Think critically about advertisements, articles, movies, etc. Don't support products and places that perpetuate sexism or the sexual exploitation of children or adults.
  • Speak out against homophobia and gay bashing.
  • Understand cultural differences. Don't stereotype people. Ask what you can do or if there is anyone else that you could help the survivor contact.
  • Mentor young boys. Most importantly, be a good role model for them, offering them alternatives to violence and controlling behaviors.
  • Organize or participate in your own group of men who are interested in stopping sexual assault on campus.

(Taken from Franklin and Marshall College's website.)


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