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Guys, Be Men

“In your hands, you hold the power to stop to rape,” is all the placard above the urinals at Ohio State University said. Really what more could be said? This powerful and bold statement was the mastermind of Michael Scarce, the former coordinator of the Rape Education and Prevention Program at Ohio State University. It is true that men play an all important role in sexual violence, but it is often the wrong one. Activists such as Michael Scarce, and myself, have a goal to see this role change come about, and there is no better place to start than on our campus and in our community.

What can I do? Glad you asked. It is easy - just start a conversation. An open dialogue with your peers and people in your community is really the best place to start. According to the Oregon Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, 1 out of every 6 women has been abused sexually. This number means that we really are all affected. Think of the women you know - your sisters, friends, girlfriends, and ex-girlfriends. By actively addressing these issues we are ensuring a safer community. Jason Schultz, another front runner in male activism, has outlined ways you can prevent rape, and support friends who are new survivors in the world of sexual assault, he calls these four rules the “Anti-rape rules”.
 
  • Rule 1 Believe the Hype I hope in the reading of this article, and others before it, you can recognize that rape is a problem in our community, and there is a huge chance that someone you know has been affected by it. Believe the hype means knowing there is a problem. Sadly if, and when, someone you know has been affected by sexual violence it is important to understand the communication that needs to, and will, take place. The person may not tell you, but if they do, believe them and accept them. Talking about these traumatic experiences can be painful, so it is very important to be understanding.
     
  • Rule 2 Don't Expect Her /Him to Change or try and Change Her/Him Schultz uses an example from his own life to explain this rule. A close friend of his had recently been a victim of sexual assault. One night she knocks on his door drunk, with two guys, and when he tells her she is too intoxicated for a group date, and she leaves angrily. She then called the next day to thank him and apologize. Schultz explains that it is important for survivors to forge their own recovery, and for his friend it meant being in control of the situation she was in. While this may be hard to accept as her friend, it is important. Another thing that I think should be added under this rule is really don't expect her to change. Guys, if you are dating a girl and you like her, but she has decided that intimacy should wait, then respect this. Don't think that you should persuade her any other way. Instead, applaud her values and strength. If this is not something you can accept, and respect her for, then she should find someone who will.
     
  • Rule 3 Ask for it When in doubt, ask. Make sure you are both comfortable with the situation and where it is going. If any alcohol or drugs are involved this is especially important. A person may reach a point that they are unable to give consent, and it is important to know that if the other person really cares about you they will understand that sometimes it is better to wait.
     
  • Rule 4 Sometimes the Tough Thing is the Right Thing Gentlemen, even if she says yes, be smart. Ask yourself, “Is this right? Is she sober? Is she emotionally sober?” Be smart, because you both have a lot at risk, and if you’re not sure, walk away.

Written by Abdulaziz Almohawes


References

Schultz, J., (2000). The antirape rules, In J. Gold & S. Villari (Eds.), Just sex (135-142). Lanham, MD: Rowman & LIttlefield