So often when I write about issues here at Care2 they are depressing, but today I have a treat for all of you.
An afterschool program called Men of Strength (MOST) is teaching boys that they can be part of the movement to end violence against women.
Men Can Stop Rape is the Washington based organization behind the MOST programs that are taught in over 100 schools in over 10 states including California, District of Columbia, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New York City, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina.
The program aims to:
- Provide young men with a safe, supportive space to connect with male peers
- Promote an understanding of the ways in which traditional masculinity contributes to sexual assault and other forms of men’s violence against women
- Expose young men to healthier, nonviolent models/visions of manhood
- Build young women’s capacity to become peer leaders and allies with women
- Serve as a hub for social justice activism and nonviolence
What do the boys in program have to say about it?
“My active involvement in this revolutionary program has been the sole catalyst for my maturation into a self-aware and confident young man.”
“MOST Club has done wonders for me. I have a newfound respect for women and what they go through. I learned about the things that males do that are harmful to women everywhere. I now think of a woman as my partner and no more as an object.”
“MOST Club has helped me greatly in life by giving me the ability to look at people and relationships in a different way. Now I am more aware of what it means for men and women to have respectful relationships with each other.
What an incredible program! So much of the discussion around rape centers on women and girls. It’s about time a program specifically targets boys and brings young men into the picture to help prevent sexual violence.
If young men had full respect for women and saw them as partners rather than objects, as these young men shared MOST programs have taught them, would we still live in a world where 1 in 5 women are raped in their lifetime?
I certainly don’t think so.
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Photo credit: Photo by Christiaan Briggs used under a Creative Commons license.