Shuck and Jive

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Men As Allies to Address Sexual Violence

It was good to see this in today's East Tennessean (ETSU's student newspaper):
ETSU's Men As Allies program was launched this year as part of the Counseling Center's OASIS programming. Men As Allies is part of a series of programs for both men and women on campus to address rape, sexual violence and relationship violence and to promote healthy sexuality.

The program encourages males to take ownership of sexual violence against women as a men's issue.

"It is a men's issue because 95 percent of sexual violence is conducted by men," explained Rebecca Alexander, OASIS program coordinator of the ETSU Counseling Center. "Men are in relationships with women who are either in danger of rape, sexual violence or relationship violence, or they are in relationships with women who have experienced it."
She goes on to say
"Although men are responsible for 95 percent of sexual and relationship violence and rape, only one quarter of all men are actually committing this violence," she said. "That means 75 percent of men out there are choosing to be safe and responsible."

Students who complete Men As Allies training can sign a Pledge to Ending Relationship Violence. The pledge states that the signee acknowledges relationship violence as a problem and is committed to action over passivity. Men As Allies workshops are offered to classrooms, residence halls, fraternities and athletic groups. To schedule a workshop, students can contact Alexander at 423-439-4841 or
alexanrl [at] etsu [dot] edu. (read more)
This is a great idea.


  1. One the one hand, damn straight. Men should not tolerate violence against women. Period. Ever. When we see other men engaging in acts that violate a woman's integrity as a human being, we should speak out aggressively in solidarity with our sisters.

    On the other...25%? One out of every four men commit violence against women? I know many men, from many walks of life, and I'm pretty sure that's a stretch. Where doth that stat come from?

  2. Hey Beloved,

    Now that you mention it, it does seem high. One of four. I don't know where that stat comes from or what it entails.


  3. My first thought was that I don't know the cite for that statistic, but I wonder if it's related to (or poorly derived from) the statistic that 1 in 4 college-aged women have survived rape or attempted rape since they were 14.

    My second thought was to look it up. Here's the first cite I found, and the data is not new so might not reflect the most recent trends:
    "at least 20 percent of American men report having perpetrated sexual assault and 5 percent report having committed rape"
    "25 percent of college men have committed sexual assault, and 8 percent have committed rape or attempted rape"

    My third reaction was to be confused by Beloved Spear's comment that he knows many men and - based on that - thinks the statistic seems too high.

    The statistic might be too high. But the facts are that the vast majority of women who are raped know their attackers; he's not some strange scary other. Rapists are usually described "ordinary guys" who don't necessarily give off creepy vibes (television portrayals notwithstanding). And, of course, some guys are perfectly normal with other guys but not with women.

    Several years ago, when I was in college, I remember a study published that got a lot of attention. In anonymous surveys, THE MAJORITY of college-aged men interviewed said they would rape a woman if they knew they would get away with it. The majority!

    Can you even imagine what it's like to be a woman in our society knowing that one in four of your friends has survived a rape or rape attempt? That a majority of your male classmates would rape you if they somehow knew they could get away with it?


  4. Here are some statistics from the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence.

    Sarahlynn, thank you for commenting. It is chilling.

    Robert Jensen, now famous in pcusa circles for his beliefs, has written quite a bit about this as well as John Stoltenberg.

    His important book, Refusing to be a Man, would be a good resource for this group as well as for other allies.

    The 1 in 4 statistic is alarming and chilling. Men have work to do. Good to see this Men as Allies program at ETSU.

  5. In anonymous surveys, THE MAJORITY of college-aged men interviewed said they would rape a woman if they knew they would get away with it. The majority!

    Given that, it is not surprising that 1 in 4 men commit sexual assault. Even if that number is high (maybe the answer is 1 in 5 or 1 in 6), it is all way too high.

    We celebrate violence, particularly violence against women. Time for some honesty about all of this.

  6. Thank you for all of this. It warms my heart to see men taking on this cause. :)