On Wednesday April 10th I attended the University Health Center’s second annual Men & Violence Panel in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The five panelists were Dr. Tim Miller, Dr. Steve Grande, Dr. Hakseon Lee, Jordan Todd, and Ross Erb. The purpose of this event is to promote the fact that sexual assault and domestic violence are not just “women’s issues” but human issues!
As some of you may know, I am a transfer student who just transferred to JMU this semester. Throughout my time so far at this university, my eyes have been opened to the fact that there really are a lot of men in the world who are knowledgeable and care about these human issues that affect everyone in our society. I am going to be sharing a few of my favorite responses to the questions that were asked during the panel.
When was a time where you noticed your privilege and how has that privilege played a role in your life?
Dr. Hakseon Lee responded that he noticed his privilege as a man when he was in high school and his older sister was in college. Their parents were worrying more about what his sister was doing than they were worrying about him. He said that he felt privileged to have that freedom at the time.
When was a time where you used your privilege to benefit a person in a marginalized group?
Dr. Tim Miller brought up the time when he was leaving his last job. He knew who was most qualified to be his successor, but he knew that she would not get that opportunity on her own being an African American female. He took the liberty of making an announcement that she would be his successor without notifying his boss so that her position would be set in stone. He said that he had nothing to lose and knew it was the right thing to do.
How do you see rape culture and how does it affect you and your relationships?
Dr. Tim Miller – as a fraternity man himself – said that we need to accept the fact that rape culture and fraternity culture are intertwined. We need to realize that we home rape culture and there is no debating that.
As a man do you find it difficult to talk about consent, power-based violence, and more with other men? Why?
Jordan Todd explained how talking to his family about these topics and issues makes him feel like he is an army of one against fifty. He sometimes feels that it is pointless to say anything to them when they say something problematic. He then realizes that if he says one thing that disrupts their train of thought then maybe they will think about it the next time they are looking at that table of women next to them at the bar.
What are ways men could promote normalizing healthy masculinity rather than toxic masculinity?
Ross Erb feels that toxic masculinity has twisted what we understand to be masculine and that crying is every bit of a masculine trait. Normalizing healthy masculinity starts at the individual level: men teaching their children better.
I consider myself a budding feminist as I am still learning new things about feminism every day. Whenever I think of men and feminism I think of men joining women. This event showed me that men can play a huge individual part in the feminist community by working to normalize men dealing with sexual assault, domestic violence, and basic emotions. It is problematic that our society has perpetuated a culture where men cannot share their own trauma!