Why Men Care about Sexual Assault
Because sexual assault confines men
About 99% of sexual assaults are committed by men.¹ Taking into account the fact that 90% of female victims on college campuses know the person that assaulted them, it has become difficult for women to distinguish "safe guys" from men who may be dangerous. The result is a society with its guard up. Relationships with men are approached with fear and mistrust and intimacy is limited by the threat of violence.
Because men are assaulted
Studies show that 10‐20% of males are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. Men are not immune to the epidemic of sexual violence, nor are male survivors safe from the stigma that society attaches to victims of rape. When reporting the assault, male survivors are often doubted or blamed for their own victimization. Frequently, they respond, as do many female survivors, by remaining silent and suffering alone.
Because men know survivors
At some point in every man's life, someone close to him will likely disclose that they are a survivor of sexual violence. Men must be prepared to respond with sensitivity, compassion, and understanding. Ignorance on the part of men can only hinder the healing process and may even contribute to the survivor feeling even more victimized. A supportive male presence during a survivor's recovery, however, can be invaluable.
Because men can stop sexual assaults
Men must be empowered to make different choices and to speak up and intervene when they see sexual aggression. All men can play a vital role in this process by challenging rape‐supporting behaviors and by raising awareness about the damaging impact of sexual assault.
Put the numbers into perspective
Knowing that 1 in 4 college women and 1 in 6 men have been victims of sexual assault, chances are good that you know or will meet a victim of sexual assault.
Take note of pop culture's messages
Everyday we're surrounded by movies, tv shows, music, and video games that degrade women, communicate harmful messages about masculinity and promote violence. Don't let pop culture dictate your behavior. And when your friend tells a joke about rape, stand up and let him know it's not funny.
Choose your words carefully
When you put down women, you support the belief that they are less human. It's easier to ignore a woman's decisions or wellbeing if she is seen as inferior. Just think, would you want someone talking about your sister, mother, or girlfriend in a disrespectful way? Choose respectful language.
Talk it over first
Create a space to speak honestly about sex. Listen to your partner, state your desires openly and ask questions if a situation seems unclear.
If drunk or high, wait
If your partner is drunk or high and can't give consent, back off and wait until you both are ready to enthusiastically say 'yes!'
Pledge to be a man of strength
Don't ever have sex with someone against their will. Pledge to be a man whose strength is used for respect and not for hurting others.
*Adapted from materials developed by MenCanStopRape.org
¹Greenfeld, L. A. (1997). Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault. Washington, D. C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.