Women may be the voices at the forefront of the fight against sexual assault, but men are also getting a chance to join the movement.
Tuesday, The Women’s Affairs Commission on Student Senate will present a men’s event as part of Ohio University’s Take Back the Night, a nationwide movement working towards combating sexual assault and domestic violence by raising awareness and supporting survivors.
The men’s event was added to the week’s line up several years ago because of the effect and influence men can have on the culture of rape and sexual assault, said Susanne Dietzel, director of the Women’s Center.
“One of the things that I always talk about is that, in many respects, only men can end rape, so I think it’s important that we empower men to be allies to women and to be allies to each other in preventing and ending rape,” she said. “I’m not saying that all rapes are being committed by men, but we know that a large number of them are and (men) need to take initiative in that struggle, too.”
The event will feature an open discussion about sexual assault in different communities, a more concise definition of sexual assault, how to be a better bystander and how to make a difference both on Ohio University’s campus and elsewhere, according to the Facebook event.
“To all the men on campus, it’s never too late to become educated on sexual assault,” said Emma Wright, the women’s affairs commissioner for Student Senate. “We will be facilitating a discussion among Ohio University men about the different types of sexual assault and the role men can play in ending it.”
For men, the event is also a way to become more involved in the week’s activities because some programs, including the rally, are for strictly women.
Still, attending the events in which men are allowed is a way to show support and gain an understanding for the movement, said Sean Martin a senior studying applied mathematics.
“It is very important for men to go to these events to support the women on this campus to fight against violence against women,” he said. “It is important for men to take part in these events to help create a change in culture.”