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)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sex objects: Pictures shift men's view of women

(Ian Sample, Chicago, Monday 16 February 2009 13.42 GMT)

Men are more likely to think of women as objects if they have looked at sexy pictures of females beforehand, psychologists said yesterday.

Researchers used brain scans to show that when straight men looked at pictures of women in bikinis, areas of the brain that normally light up in anticipation of using tools, like spanners and screwdrivers, were activated.

Scans of some of the men found that a part of the brain associated with empathy for other people's emotions and wishes shut down after looking at the pictures.

Susan Fiske, a psychologist at Princeton University in New Jersey, said the changes in brain activity suggest sexy images can shift the way men perceive women, turning them from people to interact with, to objects to act upon.

The finding confirms a long-suspected effect of sexy images on the way women are perceived, and one which persists in workplaces and the wider world today, Fiske said.

"When there are sexualised images in the workplace, it's hard for people not to think about their female colleagues in those terms. It spills over from the images to the workplace," she said.

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago yesterday, Fiske said the findings called into question the impact of sexualised images of women that might be pinned on workplace walls or sent around offices where there was a strong locker-room culture.

"I'm not saying there should be censorship, but people need to be aware of the associations people will have in their minds," Fiske said.

In the study, Fiske's team put straight men into an MRI brain scanner and showed them images of either clothed men and women, or more scantily clad men and women. When they took a memory test afterwards, the men best remembered images of bikini-clad women whose heads had been digitally removed.

The brain scans showed that when men saw the images of the women's bodies, activity increased in part of the brain called the premotor cortex, which is involved in urges to take action. The same area lights up before using power tools to do DIY. "It's as if they immediately thought to act on theses bodies," Fiske said.

In the final part of the study, Fiske asked the men to fill in a questionnaire that was used to assess how sexist they were. The brain scans showed that men who scored highest had very little activity in the prefrontal cortex and other brain regions that are involved with understanding another person's feelings and intentions. "They're reacting to these women as if they're not fully human," Fiske said.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why Should Men Be Involved?

During our struggle to end sexual violence, often due to time, staffing, and monetary constraints, many of us as advocates have been forced for too long to fail to adequately include the portion of our population that is most often responsible for sexual misconduct. We need desperately to begin collectively and in a comprehensive and strategically manner to act on the knowledge that we live in a society that values male dominance, and that places great emphasis on the importance of the strong and stoic, or macho man. In any other arena, it would make sense to focus on the cause of the problem. However, too few of us dedicated to our cause have created the time, initiative, and funding that is necessary to effect adequate change. It it now time for all of us as advocates, professionals, therapists, friends, and victims to work to address an actionable solution to the problem of sexual violence.

We believe that it is through the education and inclusion of males that this is possible. It should be the goal of all of us to extend our efforts to area and strategies that have been underutilized in the past. Through organized community outreach to males including educational components we can begin to spread the word that sexual violence does indeed wider attention. We can begin to convince those living around us who have not had the unfortunate duty of seeing firsthand the terrible scars that are left by a sexual assault , that sexual violence is indeed an epidemic in the United States that has the potential to directly affect all of our lives.

(Excerpt from PCAR - Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape)

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.