April 14, 2009

Men Against Violence week set for April 20-24

by Christi Mathis

Dr. Brod
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Special presentations and events during the second annual Men Against Violence commemorative week April 20-24 will illustrate the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Student Health Center’s stand against sexual assault and relationship violence.

“The Student Health Center is committed to helping students develop healthy lifestyles and make healthy decisions that will impact their academic and social development. Women have predominantly been the ones on the front lines fighting the battle against relationship violence and sexual assault, but now it’s time for men to stand up and speak out against violence because silence will continue to keep such terrible acts alive. It’s a goal of mine to further develop a men’s movement to address the issues of sexual assault and violence against women,” said Derrick L. Williams, violence prevention coordinator.

SIUC and the Student Health Center are fortunate to have Williams as violence prevention coordinator, said Christy Hamilton, coordinator of sexual health, relationship violence and sexual assault programs for the Wellness Center at the Student Health Center. Hamilton said Williams came to the center as a speech communications doctoral student in fall 2007 and he is effectively organizing a local grassroots endeavor to combat sexual assault and violence against women.

The Men Against Violence Week is a collaborative effort among the Student Health Center-Wellness, the Campus Violence Prevention Committee and The Women’s Center in conjunction with the month of April’s designation as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Co-sponsors include University Housing, Women’s Studies, the Department of Public Safety, Intercollegiate Athletics and the Carbondale Police Department.

One of the week’s highlights is a free lecture by Harry Brod, professor of philosophy and world religions at the University of Northern Iowa and leader in the field of masculinity and the pro-feminist men’s movement. Twice the Scholar-in-Residence for the Standing Committee for Men of the American College Personnel Association, he also won the organization’s Harry Cannon Award for exemplary and sustained contributions to the field of men’s studies.

The editor of “The Making of Masculinity: The New Men’s Studies” and other works, his most recent book is “White Men Challenging Racism: 35 Personal Stories.” Brod’s talks seek to promote healthy male attitudes relative to sexual conduct and treatment of women and to further the positive aspects of masculinity.

The week’s activities also include special art exhibits from survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence, a film, panel discussions, a presentation to youth and a walk for men and boys. The full schedule of events for Men Against Violence Week, all free and open to the public unless specified, includes:

Monday, April 20

• 11 a.m.-4 p.m.: These Hands Don’t’ Hurt in the Faner Hall breezeway and Clothesline Project at the Wellness Gazebo. The Women’s Center Clothesline Project features a display of T-shirts created by survivors and victims of sexual assault and relationship violence. In the event of rain, there won’t be a show so as to preserve the survivors’ work. Meanwhile, the Progressive Masculinities Mentors (PMM) show their support and advocate men getting involved by taking a pledge not to commit violence. Men can sign a “hand” to demonstrate their commitment as individuals to be responsible in fighting to end violence and they’ll get white ribbons they can wear to show their support.

• 6:30-8:30 p.m.: “Until the Violence Stops,” film in the Student Health Center Auditorium. The Wellness Center, the V-Day Task Force and The Women’s Center are showing this powerful documentary featuring playwright and activist Eve Ensler depicting women the world over sharing their intimate and painful personal experiences with violence and sexual assault. Stay after the film ends to view “Art for Empowerment,” a traveling Women’s Center display of artwork from survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence.

Tuesday, April 21

• 7-9 p.m.: “Beyond ‘We Were Both Drinking’: The Ethics and Erotics of Sexual Consent” featuring Harry Brod. Brod, recognized internationally for his expertise in masculinity and the pro-feminist men’s movement, speaks to all in attendance but particularly focuses on young men. The lecture is free.

Wednesday, April 22

• 7-9 p.m.: “It’s a Love Thang: Romance, Relationships and Reflection,” at the Student Health Center Auditorium. The PMM join with Alpha Phi Alpha and Omega Delta fraternities for a panel discussion about how adopting “love thang” ethics, real partner respect, in romantic relationships benefits all involved. The discussion will touch on such questions as why committed men visit strip clubs, why they get upset when a woman checks their text messages, how they perceive violent celebrity relationship reports and much more. Find out how men can be the loving and supportive partners women want and need.

Thursday, April 23

• 6-8 p.m.: “100 Men Gathering Against Sexual and Relationship Violence,” at the Student Health Center. PMM invites men from SIUC and the community to meet at the Student Health Center and walk across campus to show their support for eliminating sexual assault and relationship violence. Afterward, view the “Art for Empowerment” show in the lobby. Volunteers from The Women’s Center will be on hand to answer questions and you can buy copies of all posters with proceeds going to the Women’s Center. Participants will enjoy refreshments as organizers encourage men to network.

Friday, April 24

• 9-11 a.m.: PMM’s Wellness Day Presentation at the Murphysboro Middle School during the school’s annual Wellness Day. One of PMM’s primary missions is mentoring younger men in the region and they’ll be talking to the youth about relationship violence and how young men can get involved in the fight against male gender violence and bullying.

For more information, contact the Wellness Center at 618/536-4441 or e-mail Williams at dlw10@siu.edu or Hamilton at christy2@siu.edu.