Monday, January 11, 2010

How a Boy Learns to be a Man: Three Moments

By: Michael Kimmel

As someone who is both a researcher and an activist about masculinity issue, I’m often asked: where does it start? How does a boy learn all that stuff about masculinity? While these images surround us, bombard us, on a daily basis, it’s only through watching my son, Zachary’s experiences that I’ve seen so clearly how one comes to understand that masculinity is a performance, a pose, a posture, how it is extracted from us, and the psychic and physical toll it demands.

Below are three vignettes from three different moments in that process.

1. Age 3
Zachary loved to play a game we called “opposites.” You know the game: I say a word, and he tells me the opposite. They’re simple and fun, and we have a great time playing it. One evening, my mother was visiting, and the three of us were walking in our neighborhood park playing Opposites. Scratchy/smooth, tall/short, high/low, fast/slow – you get the idea. Then my mother asked, “Zachary, what’s the opposite of boy?”

My whole body tensed. Here it comes, I thought, Mars and Venus, the “opposite” sex, the whole gender binary.

Zachary looked up at his grandmother and said, “Man.”

2. Age 8
As Zachary’s 8th birthday approached, his mother and I asked what sort of theme he wanted for his party. For the past two years, we’d had a skating party at the local rink – the rink where his hockey team skates early on Saturday mornings. He rejected that idea. “Been there and done that, Dad,” was the end of that. “And besides I skate there all the time.”

Other themes that other boys in his class had recently had – indoor sports activities, a Red Bulls soccer game, secret agent treasure hunt – were also summarily rejected. What could he possibly want?

“A dancing party,” he said finally. “One with a disco ball.”

His mother and I looked at each other. “A dancing party?” we asked. “But Zachary, you’re only eight.”

“Oh, no, not like a dancing party like that,” he said, making air quotation marks. “I mean like Cotton Eye Joe and the Virginia Reel and Cha Cha Slide and like dance games.”

So a dancing party it was -- for 24 of his closest friends (his school encourages inviting everyone to the party). And a perfectly even split of boys and girls.

All twelve girls danced their heads off. “This is the best party ever!” shouted Grace. The other girls squealed with delight.

Four of the boys, including Zachary, danced right along with them. They were having a blast.

Four other boys walked in, checked out the scene, and immediately walked over to a wall, where they folded their arms across their chest, and leaned back. “I don’t dance,” said one. “Yuck,” said another. They watched, periodically tried to disrupt the dancing, seemed to make fun of the dancers, stuffed themselves with snacks and had a lousy time.

Four other boys began the afternoon by dancing happily, with not a hint of self-consciousness. But then they saw the leaners, the boys propped up against the wall. One by one they stopped, went over to the wall, and watched.

But they couldn’t hold the pose for long. They kept looking at the kids dancing their hilarious line dances, or the freeze dance, and they inched their way back, dancing like fiends, only to stop, notice the passive leaners again, and drift back to the wall.

Back and forth they went all afternoon, alternatingly exhilarated and exasperated, joyously dancing and joylessly watching. My heart ached for them as I watched them pulled between being children and being guys.

Or is it between being people and being guys. People capable of a full range of pleasures – from smashing an opposing skater into the boards and that down-on-the knee fist pump after scoring a goal, to do-si-doing your partner or that truly inane faux lassoing in Cotton Eyed Joe. Or guys, for whom pleasure now becomes defined as making fun of other people’s joy.

Poised between childhood and adult masculinity, they were choosing, and one could see how agonizing it was. They hated being on the sidelines, yet stayed impervious until they could stand it no longer. But once they were back on the dance floor, they were piercingly aware that they were now the objects of ridicule.

I thought of this today when yet another journalist asked me a question I am probably asked once a week, as each newspaper or magazine “discovers” that men are confused about what it means to be a man these days.

This is the price we pay to be men: the suppression of joy, sensuality, and exuberance. It is meager compensation to feel superior to the other chumps who have the audacity to enjoy themselves.

I pray my dancing fool of a son will resist the pull of that wall. His is the dance of childhood.

3. Age 10
As Zachary and I were walking to school, I asked him the same question I usually ask young men in workshops in college campuses and high schools. “What do you think it means to be a man?” I asked.

Zachary thought about it for a moment. “That’s funny, Dad” he said. We were just talking about that on my soccer team. One of my teammates said ‘Who cares if you’re hurt! You gotta be a man, be tough enough to play through the pain.’ So I guess it means being tough.”

A few steps later, he stopped walking. In one of those moment s familiar to parents, he simply stood there thinking so hard that one could imagine seeing the gears in his head working away. “Actually, Dad,” he said, “I think it’s not about being tough. I think it means acting tougher than you really are.”

Michael Kimmel is a renowned American sociologist whose specialty is pro-feminism. A professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, he is the editor of Men and Masculinities, a spokesperson of NOMAS (The National Organization For Men Against Sexism), and the author, most recently, of Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men.

*Provided by V-Day Website. For more information follow this link:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sexual Assault and the Military

The organization Veterans for Peace reports that 37% of the attempted and raped women in a VA study also reported being raped more than once and 14% of them reported being gang raped. This study also discovered that 75% of raped women in the military failed to report it.

The Department of Defense also reports that 1 in 3 women in the military are raped. This information lead the organization, Veterans for Peace, to designate the week of October 12-16, 2009 to be “Military Rape Awareness Week.” Sgt. Sandra Lee, a soldier who reports that she was raped twice while deployed in Iraq, made her first public statement to help kick off the campaign.

For more information, you can visit the Veterans for Peace website.

You can also go to The National Newsmagazine Colorlines or visit their blog, RaceWire for more information about women in the military and their obstacles around gender, sexuality and race.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bystander Intervention Can Reduce Sexual Assault

You can tell young women how to reduce their risk of being assaulted. And you can tell young men that real men don’t rape. But student sexual assault persists on campus. What more can you do?

Bystander intervention training for both women and men brings changes in attitudes, behaviors and sexual assault levels on campus. Dr. John D. Foubert, associate professor of college student development at Oklahoma State University, described the program and its effects at the 2009 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) meeting in Seattle in March.

Foubert got into sexual violence prevention 16 years ago, focusing on changing men’s behavior. He’s developed new approaches and statistical analyses based on the results. Three years ago he began a women’s program; preliminary results look promising.

“My school of thought is to look at research and do what the research tells us,” he said. This means ignoring our bias and instincts in favor of doing what the research suggests.

One in four women college students have experienced rape or attempted rape. The perpetrators are 98% men, and 9% of college men even admit to doing it.

Past paradigms

Early rape prevention programs taught women to limit their risk with self-defense classes, reduced drinking and not going out alone at night. That’s all useful, but it skips the central problem: men who choose to rape. “I’m extremely supportive of the idea that women can’t prevent it,” he said.

Preventing rape has to mean changing the behavior of men. Programs addressed at men began in the 1990s, with varying results. In at least one study, men who’d been in the program reported themselves more likely to rape. In others the men said they were less likely to rape or they had fewer stereotypes of rape, rapists and victims of rape. Few programs gave evidence of creating lasting change.

More success came with recent programs to change the peer culture— teaching men not just to refrain but to encourage their buddies to refrain as well. The programs that work best are aimed at fraternities, which are at the heart of the problem.

Men who join fraternities don’t have different histories of sexual behavior from those who don’t. The differences develop after they join the frat. Greek cultural norms promote sexual coercion and helping each other get laid. They support the myths that condone rape.

Rape myths

* She asked for it.
* Women who say no don’t mean it.
* Women like being roughed up.
* Women secretly want to be raped.
* Women want men to be in charge.
* Liberated women will have sex with anyone.

Alcohol is a factor in most campus rape. Binge drinking makes a woman eight times more likely to be raped. Men attack more often after drinking or using drugs, and the more they drink the more aggressive they’re likely to be. The more they’ve both been drinking, the more men buy into the myths and tell themselves she’s asking for it.

Getting men to change

Foubert’s is the only program that’s been shown in a controlled study to bring a lasting change in men’s attitudes about sexual coercion. It grew out of earlier findings about creating behavioral change. Sixty years of research shows that behavior is most likely to change when people:

* are motivated to hear the message
* understand the message well
* perceive it as personally relevant.

Programs targeting men typically start with the premise that most men are potential rapists. No wonder they’ve failed. Most men don’t consider themselves potential rapists, so they tune out the message. It doesn’t apply to them.

Foubert’s program takes a different tack by addressing men’s positive self-image. Instead of telling them not to rape, it assumes their goodness and frames the topic as how they can help the victim of a sexual assault.

Most men do think they’re potential helpers. The workshop builds on what they already believe. Though supporting rape survivors is something either women or men could do, workshops are single-sex because the data shows that setting is most likely to change behavior.

Workshop presenters show a video of male-on-male rape to build empathy with someone who’s being raped. That choice was based on previous research showing that programs depicting a female victim increased men’s acceptance of the rape myths, while depicting a male victim decreased it.

Presenters go on to say the perpetrators were presumed heterosexual and known to the victim. They address the canard that male-on-male assault is by gays; more often it’s by heterosexual rapists who use it for power and control.

Men in the workshop are guided from identifi cation with the male rape victim to empathy with rape victims who are women. The workshop moves on to how to support rape survivors and the defi nitions of sexual consent.

Then, even better than supporting a rape survivor, the men look for ways to support her in advance by preventing the rape. As the workshop continues, they discuss ways they can respond when they hear jokes about rape or boasts about abusing women.

Guided imagery leads them to the next step. The men visualize a woman close to them, drunk, raped while a bystander watches without intervening. They brainstorm what the bystander could have done.

Durable changes

In a study a few years ago, focus groups of fraternity members seven months after the workshop showed changes in behavior or attitudes that the men attributed to the workshop. Fraternity members who’d taken the workshop were signifi cantly less likely to have engaged in coercive acts than their brothers who had not. The acts they’d committed were less severe; they were less accepting of the rape myths.

Two years after the workshop the changes were still visible: 79% of participants reported changes in attitude or behavior because of the workshop, or else it reinforced what they already believed.

New attitudes

* Alcohol can be dangerous.
* Rape is very serious.
* Rape results in a very real trauma.
* Communication is critical to consent. New behaviors
* You can intervene to keep friends safe.
* Don’t have sex after excessive alcohol.
* Act only after communication and consent.
* Don’t joke about rape.

Several described specific incidents where the workshop experience had affected their behavior with women. One said he’s very cautious about initiating any sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol. Another said the workshop helped him commit to not mixing alcohol and sex.

Several turned down sex with young women who were trying to hook up with them while drunk. Others described telling a young woman that they were both too drunk, even when the behavior might have seemed consensual. One reported, “I turned down sex because the girl was very intoxicated. She thanked me afterward and things progressed how I wanted them to.”

Other comments showed bystander intervention in action:

- “I have helped a girl friend get out of a potentially scary situation.”
- “There was one time when a friend was going to engage in sexual activity with a girl who was really drunk. Me and a couple of other guys intervened because the girl seemed out of it (also, she was another friend’s sister). They ended up not having sex.”

New paradigm for women

If rape prevention training for men has usually operated (unsuccessfully) from the premise that all men are potential rapists, training for women has rested on the premise that all women are potential victims. It may be true but it’s tricky.

From suggesting that women have the power to prevent being raped, it’s a short slippery slope to blaming the victim if she can’t prevent it. “When women blame themselves, they have an increased risk of being raped again,” he said. But it’s even more threatening to feel there’s nothing you can do. It’s disempowering to frame women as helpless victims; many prefer the term “rape survivor.”

Bystander intervention training offers a new paradigm that empowers women to action without blaming the victim. No longer just targets or prey, women can act to help protect their friends and make college safer for all.

Three years ago Foubert started a program for women to parallel the one for men. Like the men’s program, it focuses on helping a friend survive a rape and intervening as a bystander to prevent sexual assault.

Women’s program goals

* Teach women to recognize the signs of high-risk perpetrators.
* Empower women to intervene in potentially risky situations.
* Provide women with skills to help rape survivors. Workshops start with establishing rapport and defining rape. Then the women students watch the video The Undetected Rapist (National Judicial Education Program 2000).

Based on surveys of male college students about specific past behaviors, the video shows that most rapists are neither incarcerated strangers nor nice guys who once drank too much. Most are predatory serial offenders who plot how to get their prey too drunk to resist.

They target the vulnerable. Their rapes are rarely reported. If they are, the rapists claim the sex was consensual. Understanding this may encourage women to resist and report rape attempts.

Recognizing dangerous men comes next on the workshop agenda. A woman who understands the red flags is more likely to escape or defend herself. It also gives her a tool to warn a friend if she sees a likely predator closing in.

Students discuss how to help a friend survive a rape without blaming the victim. They also brainstorm ways to become an active bystander who intervenes to prevent sexual assault.

At the end of the workshop each student makes one commitment for intervention. Committing in advance increases the odds she’ll follow through. Sample: I won’t leave the room when my roommate comes home drunk with a questionable guy.

Of more than 500 women who’ve taken the workshop, 98% would continue offering the program.

Bystander intervention for campus safety

“Bystander intervention techniques can prevent rape, whether we give it to men or women,” Foubert said. Intervention is positive, conveying self-respect and healthy empowerment to both women and men. And it reduces the number of rapes on campus.

They track interventions through a green dot initiative, placing a green dot on a campus map wherever an intervention took place. The word rape isn’t on the map and the initiative is gender neutral.

Sample interventions reported:

* Refuse to leave the room.
* Call the roommate into the hall to talk.
* If dancing at a party, cut in.
* Call the police or the RA.
* Accidentally spill beer to diffuse the situation.

“It’s my understanding that all campuses are doing some sexual assault prevention and if not, they’re in violation of the law,” he said. His data suggests that programs based on positive self-image, peer support for rape survivors and bystander intervention do the most good in the long run. Foubert hopes to license the program to individual schools.

Photo: Dr. John D. Foubert (Dr. John D. Foubert is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the College of William and Mary and is the founder of One in Four. One in Four is a national rape prevention program focusing on male college students.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sexual Violence: Whose Problem Is It Anyway?

Top Ten Reasons from the Family Violence Prevention Fund

Most men do not agree with men's violence, yet do nothing to challenge or stop it - these men need to be mobilized to prevent violence.

Some men are already working to prevent violence but lack support; many more would like to get involved but don't know how.

Many women want men to step up and take a stand against violence.

Men commit most of the violence - it is up to them to stop it

Men are not born violent-they become violent as a result of beliefs and norms about what it means to be a man. Work with men and boys can change these beliefs and norms and support men in rejecting violence

Men have the potential to stop violence. Not only can they choose to not perpetrate acts of violence, they can choose to challenge the attitudes and assumptions that support gender-based violence.

Gender-based violence continues despite years of anti-violence work. The missing piece is effective violence prevention work with men.

Men experience violence too-many are survivors but few get the support they need to heal from their experience.

Men and boys listen to their peers-we need to mobilize men and boys to spread the violence prevention message in their families, workplaces, and communities.

Decision makers and opinion leaders are mostly men-we need to work with them to get the political, financial, and moral support necessary to prevent gender-based violence.

(From Men as Peacemakers)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Something to Think About

An Army Sergeant in Washington state was charged in juvenile sex trafficking

That is very interesting considering the social media campaign that was launched in April 2009

Actually, the Department of Defense did institute a new policy on Prevention and Response to Sexual Assault in 2005. The Sexual Assault and Prevention Response office has been actively working providing appropriate responses to sexual assault survivors and prevention education. It is a step in the right direction.

SAPRO has also collaborated with such groups as Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and Men Can Stop Rape.

Check out the 30 sec radio spot

We all play a role in changing the future.

Summer Reading

Goat: A Memoir
by Brad Land

Review by Jonathan Stillerman, Men Can Stop Rape co-Director and co-Founder

"Goat" is a true story of traditional masculinity and the damage it
can do to relationships with oneself, one's family, and one's
community. Told through the eyes of the author as a younger man,
Brad Land's moving and painful first novel centers around his
relationship with his brother, Brett, both preceding and during
their college years at Clemson University. Violence weaves its way
throughout the book, beginning with a terrifying account of a
physical attack that Brad suffers at the hands of two male peers and
culminating in descriptions of humiliation and subjugation that he
and his brother endure as part of fraternity hazing. Perhaps more
sad and disturbing than Land's telling of these incidents, however,
is his portrayal of his own slowly growing alienation from himself
and his friends, and the steady deterioration of his once close
connection to Brett. At a time when much more attention is being
paid to the links between masculinity and violence against women,
Land's memoir highlights that no one is immune to the impact of
men's violence and raises poignant questions about the true meaning
of “brotherhood."

Description provided by Boulder Book Store:
Reeling from a terrifying assault that has left him physically injured and psychologically shattered, nineteen-year-old Brad Land must also contend with unsympathetic local police, parents who can barely discuss "the incident" (as they call it), a brother riddled with guilt but unable to slow down enough for Brad to keep up, and the feeling that he'll never be normal again. When Brad's brother enrolls at Clemson University and pledges a fraternity, Brad believes he's being left behind once and for all. Desperate to belong, he follows. What happens there--in the name of "brotherhood," and with the supposed goal of forging a scholar and a gentleman from the raw materials of boyhood--involves torturous late-night hazing, heartbreaking estrangement from his brother, and, finally, the death of a fellow pledge. Ultimately, Brad must weigh total alienation from his newfound community against accepting a form of brutality he already knows too well.
A searing memoir of masculinity, violence, and brotherhood, Goat provides an unprecedented window into the emotional landscape of young men and introduces a writer of uncommon grace and power.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

There is an urgent need to do something

Over the weekend I met yet another woman who has been assaulted; she was only 21 years old at the time. She was assaulted by a 30 year old guy from last year's Burning Man. For 6 months, she was in inner agony, she cried every day, and understandably, she shut herself off from any intimacy with men. That assault can happen at something ostensibly as cool and hip as Burning Man, that speaks to how ubiquitous sexual assualt is; the pesonal devastation she experienced speaks to how urgent the need is to do something about it. - Dan, Men Standing Up Volunteer

Monday, June 8, 2009

One Woman's Answer to Catcalls

I was walking down the street in downtown Washington, D.C., chugging on a bottle of Perrier. A bike messenger leaning up against a tree says, "Can I have some . . ." with a wink and a leer. I say, "Sure" and splash the Perrier in his face. Two African-American men walking toward me see this and, laughing, say, "Way to go, sister!" I start laughing and so does the bike messenger. We all laughed be cause my response was so appropriate to his request. I felt good about fighting street harassment that day, and I got community support from other people.(Theresa, 2001)

From: Racial Intervention Story Exchange (RISE)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bystander Intervention

How many times have you been at a party or with a small group of friends and witnessed something that made you feel uneasy? Maybe it was a man pressuring a woman to leave with him. Perhaps it was a sexist joke or comment. Or maybe you saw a friend slap his date. What would you do?

You might be thinking, "That's none of my business." You may feel like to say something would mean "sticking your nose in someone else's business."


Sexual assault rarely happens in a room full of people. But warning signs or red flags that a situation is about to become abusive are often noticed by others. Stepping in to find out what's going on could prevent a sexual assault.

This doesn't mean that you have to get in a fight. It could be as simple as interrupting the situation (asking "where's the bathroom" could provide an opportunity for someone who is feeling cornered to slip away) or checking in with the person you're concerned about. It could mean telling a friend that you don't like the way s/he is acting, or it could mean calling the police.

The point is, if you see an abusive or potentially abusive situation DO SOMETHING!

It could change the course of someone's life forever.

University of Northern Colorado, "Be the Better Men"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We Need Male Allies

This is a great article by American Association of University Women

“Men are essential to feminism and to ending sexual assault. If they weren’t, we’d already have ended it.”
— Jerin Alam, president, Hunter Women’s Rights Coalition, Hunter College, New York, during a workshop presentation

This week I attended Men Can Stop Rape’s first annual conference, focused on men and women as allies in the primary prevention of men’s violence against women. The conference brought together campus activists, crisis center employees, government officials, and nonprofit employees who all are striving to end sexual assault.

Timed during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the conference opened with a dialogue between a female and a male ally. Ritu Sharma, president of Women Thrive Worldwide, and Byron Hurt, a director/producer and founding member of the Mentors in Violence Prevention program, sat on stage and spoke with each other about their work to address sexual violence and exchanged ideas about how women and men can better work together to address the problem. They talked through issues like the struggle to have women trust men as allies after being violated by violent men and how male allies still have to struggle every day to acknowledge their male privilege and not abuse it. I found the dialogue to be engaging, and I thought it set a great tone for the rest of the conference.

I’m still processing everything I learned during the two-day conference, but I’ll mention one theme I noticed among speakers and workshop presenters.

Basically, every speaker or workshop presenter who had been working on sexual assault issues for many years, like Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Catherine Pierce, director of the Office on Violence Against Women in the U.S. Department of Justice, talked about or at least mentioned how wonderful it was to see men at the conference. When the anti-sexual assault movement began a few decades ago, the focus was helping victims and survivors with direct services and resources. Since most survivors are women, as are most of those who utilize such resources, women were the focus. Men were largely absent. They tended (and many still tend) to see violence against women and sexual assault as a “women’s issue” and not something they had (or have) to address because it did (or does) not concern them. Also, some women were hesitant to trust men as allies in the movement when faced with the question of including them.

Recently, there has been a shift among sexual assault activists and organizations to address prevention in addition to direct services to victims and to engage and include men in this work. Since most perpetrators of sexual assault are male — which is not the same as saying most men are perpetrators, because most are not — it is imperative for men to be part of the conversation and the effort to prevent sexual assault. Men look to other men for approval and for affirmation of their masculinity, so men can really make all the difference. As more men realize that sexual violence is not a women’s issue, particularly when one in six men are victims/survivors, and since most men know women or girls who have been assaulted or worry about being assaulted, hopefully more will help end it.

At the local level, conference attendees shared their experiences with organizing men around the issue on their campus or in their community. For example, a campus “chocolate and sex” night included frank discussions about consent and healthy sexual relations yet was advertised and framed in a nonthreatening, interesting way. It helped expose men to the concepts and opened the door to activism if they wanted to go that route. At a national level, Byron Hurt and Ben Atherton-Zeman talked about using theater, hip-hop, a documentary, and honest conversations to make issues of masculinity and sexual assault accessible to young men.

I left the conference heartened by all the work individuals are doing at local, state, and national levels, on campuses, in communities, and through government agencies. This is a great time to be involved in sexual assault activism because, with the growing pool of male allies, I think significant preventative change can happen.

Men Can, and Should, Stop Rape |

Men Can, and Should, Stop Rape |

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Experts Link Recession to Increased Domestic Violence

As noted in Boulder's Daily Camera and in the US Catholic there is a noted increase of domestic violence during recessions. It is important to remember that Domestic Violence includes sexual assault. Sexual assault is sexual assault even if it is by a partner/spouse. If a person does not consent it is sexual assault.

Some great articles to check out about Parter/Spousal Sexual assault
Spousal Rape Laws: 20 Years Later

Spousal Abuse
Are You a Victim of Physical, Emotional, Sexual or Economic Abuse

Criminal Law: Spousal Abuse

Myth: A Husband cannot rape his wife.
Fact: In Colorado, any act of sexual conduct to which a woman does not consent is rape, regardless of an individual's marital or social relationship with the abuser. Historically, rape laws have been based on an assumption of a wife as property of a husband. They did not recognize a woman's right to control her own body. Fortunately, today the vast majority of states allow a woman to criminally charge her husband with rape.

Friday, May 29, 2009

7 Ways You Can Coach Boys into Men

Teach Early. It’s never too soon to talk to a child about violence. Let him know how you think he should express his anger and frustration – and what is out of bounds. Talk with him about what it means to be fair, share and treat others with respect.

Be there. If it comes down to one thing you can do, this is it. Just being with boys is crucial. The time doesn’t have to be spent in activities. Boys will probably not say this directly -- but they want a male presence around them, even if few words are exchanged.

Listen. Hear what he has to say. Listen to how he and his friends talk about girls. Ask him if he’s ever seen abusive behavior in his friends. Is he worried about any of his friends who are being hurt in their relationships? Are any of his friends hurting anyone else?

Tell Him How. Teach him ways to express his anger without using violence. When he gets mad, tell him he can walk it out, talk it out, or take a time out. Let him know he can always come to you if he feels like things are getting out of hand. Try to give him examples of what you might say or do in situations that could turn violent.

Bring it up. A kid will never approach you and ask for guidance on how to treat women. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need it. Try watching TV with him or listening to his music. If you see or hear things that depict violence against women, tell him what you think about it. Never hesitate to let him know you don’t approve of sports figures that demean women, or jokes, video games and song lyrics that do the same. And when it comes time for dating, be sure he knows that treating girls with respect is important.

Be a Role Model. Fathers, coaches and any man who spends time with boys or teens will have the greatest impact when they “walk the walk.” They will learn what respect means by observing how you treat other people. So make respect a permanent way of dealing with people – when you’re driving in traffic, talking with customer service reps, in restaurants with waiters, and with your family around the dinner table. He’s watching what you say and do and takes his cues from you, both good and bad. Be aware of how you express your anger. Let him know how you define a healthy relationship and always treat women and girls in a way that your son can admire.

Teach Often. Your job isn't done once you get the first talk out of the way. Help him work through problems in relationships as they arise. Let him know he can come back and talk to you again anytime. Use every opportunity to reinforce the message that violence has no place in a relationship.

(courtesy of the Family Violence Prevention Fund)

What is Men Standing Up?

Moving to End Sexual Assault's Men's Prevention Education program in Boulder, Colorado is dedicated to raising awareness about rape prevention. Studies show that that men and boys hear a message about ending sexual violence better from other males, making men’s involvement crucial in creating lasting social change.