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We all need to step up to change this system and men and women are both doing just that!

Just yesterday on Jezebel, Cassie Murdoch posted about an after school program for boys working to stop violence against women. The program is called MOST (Men Of Strength) and comes out of the organization ‘Men Can Stop Rape’ http://www.mencanstoprape.org/The-Men-of-Strength-Club/

M.O.S.T. is for middle school boys and works to stop violence against women! She writes that it’s awesome- and you know what- It is! Check out her article:

http://jezebel.com/education/

If that is “boys being boys” then boys, keep up the good work!

Violence against women is power for the weak man. Men rape and batter to have control over women. Patriarchy encourages this. Look at the young men at the University of Vermont who surveyed each other about who they would want to rape if they could. How messed up is that?

Rape is not consensual, which is what makes it rape. The victim says no, the victim doesn’t want to. The rapist says the victim will do it anyway and it doesn’t matter what the victim wants. Power and control.

What I’ve been talking about when I say the following two things: 1. it’s not men’s fault that they have been given power and they are not necessarily bad because they were given it (though they have a choice of how to use it) and 2. men do not wholly benefit from patriarchy:

Patriarchy gives men power and when they may feel at all powerless, as we humans do sometimes in this large world, patriarchy encourages men to take power by whatever means necessary. It is anger. It is rage. It is power and control over another person. AND It is violence. 

Not all men are rapists certainly, so men who respect women, themselves, other men, and are generally good guys, are put into the category of potential rapists because the patriarchy says they could be rapists. Patriarchy doesn’t wholly benefit men. That said, men must also work to make the system change!

Some men are doing just that! Programs like MOST are so important! To make rape stop and to change the system, men have to take responsibility. This program is an example of how they are doing just that. Yay!

I worked as a therapist at a Rape Crisis Center up until July 2011. I was there for six years and then another year or so part time and worked with men and women survivors of sexual assault. Rampant were: Trauma symptoms. PTSD. Depression. Anxiety. If it’s not obvious, sexual assault hurts people. Most of the perpetrators were men. There are stories I still have in my head of things done by people to hurt other people that may never leave because they are so horrifying. They are worse than any horror flick and all of them were about power and control. They were also about really damaged people trying to damage other people.

This culture is a rape culture, meaning that rape and sexual violence against women is not only allowed, but commonplace. It is condoned by laws in place, the media, attitudes toward women and stereotypes of women, as well as views of how men should behave.  Women are objectified throughout the culture which makes it easier to see women as not human and victims of sexual assault are blamed for their assault rather than justice being sought. That is rape culture and it can be changed. There are so many pieces to changing it, but I see it as a system overhaul. MOST seems to be in the mix of those working toward that.

I happened upon an interesting quick piece from a couple of years ago. Check it out.

http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/02/real-men-and-rape.html

Real men can make change. We all can! With 2012 just around the corner, make it a resolution.

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