Our mission is to mobilize men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence, especially men's violence against women.

Trainer Training Day!

It’s training day with Men Can Stop Rape at the United Methodist building in D.C.!

Helping those who help others discover a new way to talk about masculinity and gender. Engaging men so that we can change the way we define masculinity. 

Can’t wait to challenge the dominant story surrounding masculinity with a diverse group! 

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That last victim blaming post made me realize that whenever someone says or implies that if women don't want to worry about getting raped we should not drink around men, we should just point out that if men don't want to be accused of rape, maybe they should stop drinking around women

Men Can Stop Rape
facebooksexism answered:

I’m curious how that would go over. That particular type of guy only seems to know the phrase “PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!” when they’re trying to defend something atrocious that has happened TO a woman and not when a guy DOES something shitty. 

From Victim to Validation

By Kiki Martire 

On Tuesday members of our staff including the MCSR intern mob comprised of Leah, Emma, Aaron, Daniel, and I attended the You Are Not Alone 2014 District of Columbia College and University Conference sponsored by the District of Columbia Office of Victim Services and yours truly, Men Can Stop Rape. The morning started off slow with some welcoming remarks, muffins galore, and a diverse panel to get the ball rolling. But what really caught my attention on the program was the presentation entitled, “Being Victim Centered: What Everyone on Campus Needs to Know,” by Michelle Palmer at the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing and Nikki Charles from the Network for Victim Recovery in DC. This topic stood out to me right away because it prompted the thought, “Isn’t the term ‘victim’ a little passé these days?” Around the office the expressions I have grown accustomed to hearing sound more like “survivor” or those who have “experienced sexual assault.” After all, why re-victimize those affected by sexual assault or intimate partner violence by referring to them as someone preyed upon, targeted, wounded, suffering, or objectified? Not to mention placing a negative label on those affected instead of their perpetrators. I, personally, can imagine not wanting to be simplified into the “victim” category if I was the survivor a traumatic crime. With all this in the back of my mind Michelle and Nikki began their “Being Victim Centered” presentation. I instantly recognized Michelle from a meeting I had attended the week before with the Victim Assistance Network (VAN) and I remembered her astute comment on the group’s charter description, “I guess they were just trying to see how many times they could use the word victim!” So why was this spikey haired, spunky woman now speaking on “victim centered” services? What was I missing?

Well apparently I was missing a lot. Nikki and Michelle’s approach is anything but stuck in the past or stereotyped. They left all preconceived notions of sexual assault at the door and pushed the audience to do the same. The pair kicked off their talk by enthusiastically inviting the room to share their last sexual encounters with those next to them. This exercise turned out to be an awkward hoax but it imitated to the group what it might feel like for a person who has been sexually assaulted to explain their experience to strangers in detail, probably many times over. I would imagine that for many in the room, we could not begin to contemplate that type of distress, but what we could do is bring validation and vindication to these survivors. Conference attendants were primarily service providers or in law enforcement, university administrators, or in counseling— people who have the tools to de-victimize the victimized and empower those who have been disenfranchised by sexual or intimate partner crime. Nikki and Michelle’s presentation took me by surprise and forced me to approach the experience of a sexual assault survivor in a new light. We all know to dispel horrific notions such as “she was asking for it” or “it was her fault” but what happens after we overcome the blame game? How can we treat survivors with compassion and respect throughout the aftermath of their trauma? How can we humanize those affected by such an inhumane crime? Well Nikki and Michelle put forth some essential first steps: tell them the truth – make a survivor aware of their rights and choices, be clear on who is a confidential counselor and who is a mandated reporter; understand what reactions are completely natural – our instincts are trained for fight, flight, or freeze in the event of trauma, the brain shuts down for protection and memory loss or memory fragmentation is to be expected; healing takes time – some people are more resilient than others and everyone has a different recovery timeline. Special sensitivity is necessary for college students who are at high risk for falling into depression in the wake of an assault. The presentation stressed that college students in these situations need sympathetic faculty and administration to give them academic time off, or to adjust their class schedules if their perpetrator is still on campus. As a university student myself, I was encouraged by the level of attention to detail and need meeting these women were advocating for on college campuses.

So how does this affect college men and the work Men Can Stop Rape does with engaging these men in violence prevention? I think most undergraduate men grasp the destructive nature of sexual assault, but perhaps fewer women and men have a picture of what that aftermath and recovery looks like for their peers. This is most damaging to survivors who need understanding support systems more than ever. If college men became aware of the “victim support” strategies put in place by their institutions they would be better resources for their female friends and their campuses at large. If men in general understood that a logical reaction to sexual assault could be to freeze or be silent instead of screaming or fighting, imagine the good that could do, especially on college campuses where the line of consent grows greyer by the minute. I truly believe most college men are in the dark about what they can do to help the women they care about in this arena, and feel powerless to make a positive impact. Men Can Stop Rape mobilizes these men as allies, active resources, and bystanders on their campuses. Most immediately the UASK application now available for smartphones puts the power to help someone affected by sexual assault in the palm of their hands. Men have a significant role to play in prevention, as well as survivor healing, and need to be included in these types of conversations. All the work we do at Men Can Stop Rape builds towards this dialog.

Kiki Martire is a rising senior from Baltimore, Maryland; English major and Women’s and Gender Studies minor at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA. Summer intern at Men Can Stop Rape