Friday, December 12, 2008

Quoted: Coaching men

Cross posted form Prevent-Connect Digest 929 and This is Rape

I would want them to be aware that historically, sexual assault was framed as a women's issue - ie: "it's their problem, let them deal with it." Thanks to the hard work of many people over the past thirty years, we've now come to realize that statistically violent assaults of all kinds, especially sexual assault, are overwhelmingly perpetrated by men (regardless of the gender of the victim); this points us toward the roots of such violence, and shines a long overdue light on masculine culture. Clearly any effort intent on eradicating violence must put educating males front and center; across the nation in the last fifteen years there has been a definitive shift toward primary prevention efforts where such education is the focus.

I would want them to be aware that the central component of sexual violence is misogyny. This misogyny perpetuates today despite the changing roles of women in the real world, because the language with which we refer to women has not shifted; much of what we say and do continues to reflect the attitude that women are no just different than men, but are less than men. Once you establish that a group of people have less value than you do, you pave the way for justifying all kinds of behavior that otherwise would be unconscionable in a just, decent, and democratic society.

I would want them to be aware that misogyny hurts men. Not just because our daughters, sisters, partners/wives, mothers, and peers are being hurt, but also because in a society where a certain identity is considered sub-standard everyone's behavior is viewed and critiqued through this distorted lens.

I would want them to be aware that if they want to end violence on their campus, they must do more than merely provide workshops for their students; they must stop
reinforcing negative belief systems. This means no more shouting at their players "C'mon, run faster you pussy!", or "You're throwing like a girl", or "It's game time, let's go beat those faggots." [yes, actual quotes from college coaches and athletes].

So, to be fair, that last point isn't a trend. Yet. Maybe instead of being curious "about 'Trends' in sexual violence and prevention work", these coaches could be encouraged to be trend setters...

Stephen Montagna

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