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Category Archives: Male allies

New Occasional Paper from YWAT on engaging young men as allies

On November 2-3, 2007, fifteen young men gathered to participate in the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team’s (YWAT’s) Male Ally Training.  The training was created by Ed Mills and members of the YWAT.  Lillian Matanmi, a leadership team member of the YWAT, was the primary coordinator of this project.

Now Ed Mills and members of YWAT have prepared a report on the event.  The report summarizes what took place and indicates some of the training’s strengths and weaknesses.  It also discusses the participants’ – both trainees and facilitators – written and oral feedback, and contains a brief appendix with some of the activities, evaluations and facilitators’ afterthoughts.  The YWAT hopes that this report will be of assistance to other individuals and organizations seeking to create similar trainings.

The report — along with workshop activities and evaluations — is available on the Taskforce website.

The Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team has also developed a toolkit titled “Where Our Boys At? Involving Young Men as Allies to End Violence against Girls.”  In the toolkit, YWAT shares some of the resources (including curricula) that it has developed and perhaps even more importantly  discusses the challenges and accomplishments of its three-year campaign.  The toolkit can be found here!

Thanks to Ed and the members of YWAT for sharing their learnings!  If your group has similar evaluations to share, and would like to submit a proposal for an Occasional Paper, please email us at chitaskforce@gmail.com.

 

3 things that might surprise you about Slutwalk Chicago

Slutwalk Chicago came to town yesterday and it was great!  Here are 3 facts that might surprise you about the event and the Slutwalk movement.  These three facts have been underreported – and in some cases even twisted – by the mainstream media.

1.  Slutwalk wasn’t (mostly) about sluts. 

There were certainly women with signs saying “slut” and dressed in provocative clothing – and more power to them!  It was great to see women so comfortable in their own skin, reclaiming the street.

But don’t believe the media hype, or the carefully selected media images, suggesting that the march consisted of 2,000 women in lingerie.  Most of the marchers were wearing everyday clothing, of all varieties, reflecting their individual identities and personal styles.  The overall message was to put an end to victim-blaming, no matter what survivors are wearing.

2. Men were a central part of Slutwalk Chicago. 

Men marched on their own, with their girlfriends, with their boyfriends, and in groups.  Men worked as volunteers along the route to support the marchers.  They cheered and chanted, they held signs saying “An injury to one is an injury to all” and “Fight for a World Without Sexism.”

This was one of the most moving and underreported aspects of the march – to see men out on the streets demanding an end to violence against women is a huge shift in a movement that has long alienated male allies.

We in the anti-violence movement need to embrace this change, and to further encourage male allies to organize workshops, rallies and other events to speak out against violence.

3. It’s time for the anti-violence movement to listen to younger women, who have developed important new messaging. 

If you think an anti-violence march only has the message of “end violence,” then listen up: this march aimed to promote positive sexuality that is consensual and free from violence.  Posters like “Wow, I like sex so so much when it’s consensual!” send an important message that many younger women in the movement have embraced.

You hear it from groups like SHEER (Sexual Health Education to End Rape), a group that has partnered with many organizations in Chicago, including the Taskforce, to build a new sex-positive anti-violence movement.  In their own words, SHEER is

a survivor centered, sex positive, pro-consent coalition formed to prevent sexual assault, abuse, harassment and victim blaming and to address myths about rape by promoting an affirmative consent standard as the cornerstone of healthy sexual interactions. An affirmative consent standard calls for the use of enthusiastic consent that is active, mutual and ongoing throughout a sexual encounter.

This new messaging is helping to shape the movement going forward, and it was displayed in full force at Slutwalk Chicago.