Male engagement in ending sexual assault

Sexual assault is often centered around women, whether they be the victims or the people fighting it, but now there is a push for increased male involvement in fighting sexual violence on campus.

    “(A push for increased male involvement) is not saying men are the perpetrators; it’s saying men can have a great impact on changing the culture here,” Julie Broadwell, campus advocacy manager for the Cocoon, said. “The task force was really focused on what BGSU can do to change the conversation — which then changes actions, changes behavior — which will guarantee to reduce the number of sexual assaults on campus.”  

    Following the publication of the Sexual Assault Task Force recommendations, there is now an implementation team working to bring those suggestions to reality. One of their main goals is increasing male involvement in sexual violence prevention.

    This new team has met once, Sept. 29, and the next meeting is coming up within the next few weeks.

    The task force is working on hiring a “Coordinator for Engaging Men,” a position that does not currently exist, to get more men involved in the fight against sexual assault, Broadwell said, who is also a member of the implementation team. She believes that increased male engagement is vital to preventing sexual assault.

    “The recommendation comes from moving away from looking at sexual violence or sexual assault as, quote, ‘a women’s issue’ because we know that whenever a person is sexually assaulted it affects the entire campus; it affects people who are friends with the survivor. It’s not just women that are sexually assaulted, so we need to move away from that,” Broadwell said.

    Recommendations are broken down into three categories: care, prevention and process. Male engagement falls under “prevention.”

    This male engagement coordinator is being hired to work with different organizations, particularly those with high male involvement like sports or fraternities, and also campus in general, to talk about sexual assault.

    “We’re reaching out specifically to the people who, in most cases statistically, have the largest power over stopping sexual violence and assault crimes,” Elle Fullenkamp said, third year AYA English education major and a member of the implementation team.

    This education includes lessons on not only how to intervene in potentially dangerous situations but also how to create a culture where sexual assault is something that is important and fought against by both men and women.

    Talks about the timeline of this coordinator position will be held in upcoming implementation team meetings.

    However, the implementation team has recommendations for anyone looking to work against sexual assault right now.

    “Through peer education, through the wellness connection, we do have plenty of bystander intervention training. And that’s the biggest thing, kind of the front lines thing to combat (sexual assault),” Fullenkamp said.

    “We also have It’s On Us, which has a student group that is begging for involvement, especially the male leaders on campus,” she continued.

    It’s On Us is a campaign started by Joe Biden looking to end sexual assault on college campuses. It has student group meetings Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in Business Administration Room 103.

    Administrative meetings are Mondays at 1 p.m. in the Union.

Students are able to go to either or both meetings.

    A website will be created that will show viewers what the task force recommends in different situations, what is getting done and what is completed. “So there will be an accountability there, where students and other concerned people in our community can be checking in on our progress,” Fullenkamp said.

    Involvement, especially male involvement, is incredibly important to the implementation team, and they hope increased contribution will bring about real change.