Editor’s note: This story pairs with another titled “Researchers say the psychology behind rape is complex.”
All-male organizations across the country are seeking to engage men in the fight against sexual assault, including a group here in the Beehive State.
The Men’s Anti-violence Network of Utah is a state-wide nonprofit comprised of business, education, community and government leaders dedicated to involving men in local efforts to snuff out this social issue.
One of the nonprofit’s volunteers Marty Liccardo said the organization wants men to get involved however possible, whether its volunteering at a rape crisis center or discussing sexual assault prevention with community groups.
“We’d be as excited about Boy Scout leaders talking to their troops about healthy relationships and good communication,” Liccardo said.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month nationally, so there will additional focus in the near future on bringing the issue to public consciousness.
Liccardo said one of the Men’s Anti-violence Network of Utah’s goals is to help men understand sexual violence is not a women’s issue, it’s a men’s issue. He said he believes this because 98 percent of perpetrators of all forms of sexual violence against women are male, according to the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.
The organization focuses on bystander prevention, training men about who to contact if they suspect violent behavior and how to confront peers who use sexist language. The issue may be slowly moving more into the consciousness of students and local residents.
The Men’s Anti-violence Network of Utah is one of many all-male groups that actively opposes sexual assault. Some groups are college-student run. So far, there is no anti-sexual assault organization for men on the BYU campus, but several college campuses in the United States have Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault clubs.
The Daily Universe interviewed three Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault presidents, each of whom knew a friend who had been sexually assaulted and decided to do something about it.
The three presidents said their male peers are more likely to listen to them because they are an all-male group. Loizzo said the reason the club was started at Northwestern University was because male students got defensive when their female peers tried to explain the seriousness of sexual assault to them.
This video explores what male BYU students think about men fighting against sexual assault. (CreelaBelle Howard)
All three men get the same primary concerns from fraternities: alcohol and false rape accusations. Frats want to know where the line is, how much alcohol is too much and how to ensure consent. They also worry the woman will wake up after an encounter and accuse them of rape.