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Men Who Prevent Violence

Men who prevent violence realize that gender-based violence is an issue that affects people of all genders and sexualities. While men are generally the perpetrators of gender violence, most men do NOT perpetrate violence. Some men are a survivors of violence by women and other men. Most men want to help stop gender violence, but don't know how.

If you are a man who wants to prevent gender violence, try following the suggestions below:

1.Recognize gender privilege: Men tend to be automatically be given more power and privilege than women. What kind of benefit do you get just from being a male? Think about it. Gender is not the only form of power in society, but when a man acknowledges his gender privilege he helps erode power imbalances that lead to violence.

2. Use respectful language. Words carry power.  Using derogatory or objectifying language makes it easier for you or others to commit acts of physical, verbal or emotional violence against women and men. Some ways to change your language include:
• Stop calling women names like "bitch," "freak," "whore," or "trick."

• Talk about women like whole people, not sex objects or body parts.

• Do not call another  man a “bitch,” “pussy,” or say he does things “like a girl.” If you are angry, express yourself without demeaning the other person.

• Avoid violent phrases to assert power or control. Talking about making someone “your bitch,” threatening to “f*** them over” someone or say they can “suck your d***” are forms of verbal violence that support a culture of violence.

3. Use gender inclusive language. Using “he” “him” or “men” to stand for both men and women supports male privilege and creates power imbalances among genders. Using gender inclusive language reduces power imbalances.

• Saying “folks,” “friends,” or “y’all” instead of “guys” or “you guys.”

• Say “first-year student” instead of freshman.

• Using both male and female pronouns or names when thinking up hypothetical examples.

4. Learn effective sexual communication. Learn how to give and get effective consent.  Talk with your partner (even a casual partner) before sexual activity so you know her/his limits .  Men who use effective sexual communication -- stating your desires clearly, listening to your partner, and asking when the situation is unclear -- make sex safer for themselves and others.

5. Speak up. You may never see a rape in progress, but you can speak in ways that reduce sexual violence.
• When you hear someone using about a specific woman, women and/or girls in general in a derogatory way, speak up. When you hear people in a specific racial or ethnic group, lgbtq people, disabled people, or other minority group speak up! Tell them that their comment, joke or other demeaning talk is offensive. Do anything but remain silent.

• Talk with women about how the risk of being raped affects their daily lives; about how they want to be supported; about what they think men can do to prevent sexual violence.

• Talk with men about how it feels to be seen as a potential rapist; about the fact that 10-20% of all males will be sexually abused in their lifetimes; about whether they know someone who's been raped.

6. Support survivors of rape. Be a supportive friend. When a survivor tells you she or he is a survivor, believe her or him. Learn to sensitively support survivors in your life. Supporting survivors helps both women and other men feel safer to speak out about surviving sexual violence. 

7. Get involved. Join or donate to an organization working to prevent violence against women. Rape crisis centers, domestic violence agencies, and men's anti-rape groups need your support. You can also form a men’s organization. If you want help organizing a group or starting a chapter of a men’s group, please contact Becca Bishopric, Coordinator for Health Promotion – Violence Prevention and Response at 336-278-5009 or through email at bbishopric@elon.edu.

8. Work against other oppressions. Many other forms of oppression including racism, homophobia, sexism, ableism, and religious discrimination contribute to rape culture. Educate yourself about oppression.  Promote justice by learning about the beliefs of others and speaking out against oppressive beliefs and behaviors.