What Men Can Do

What Women Can Do
What Everyone Can Do

Ten Things Men Can Do To Prevent Sexual Violence

  • Approach sexual violence as a MEN'S issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his partner -- or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in general -- don't look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you don't know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. DON'T REMAIN SILENT.
  • Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don't be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward changing them.
  • If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help.
  • If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help NOW.
  • Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence. Support the work of campus-based women's centers. Attend "Take Back the Night" rallies and other public events. Raise money for community-based rape crisis centers and battered women's shelters. If you belong to a team or fraternity, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.
  • Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing. Discrimination and violence against lesbians and gays are wrong in and of themselves. This abuse also has direct links to sexism (eg. the sexual orientation of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key reason few men do so).
  • Attend programs, take courses, watch films, and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the root causes of gender violence. Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.
  • Don't fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any website, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Protest sexism in the media.
  • Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don't involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men's programs. Lead by example.

What else can men do?

  • Start talking about the problem with people you know.
  • Take the issue seriously and with concern.
  • Interrupt sexist comments, jokes, and language.
  • Interrupt comments, jokes, and language that are sexually degrading or minimize rape.
  • Choose not to use language like "bitch," "whore," or "slut" when referring to women.
  • Do not talk about sexual encounters in a way that objectifies or dehumanizes women and their bodies.
  • Develop your own style of talking to men and challenging common sexist remarks you hear.
  • Choose not to support media that degrade women and sell men short.
  • Demonstrate healthy and respectful attitudes about women to younger boys and other men.
  • Listen to women's voices and needs; find out where they are coming from.
  • Educate yourself on how media, including pornography, effects boys' and men's perception of women.
  • Take "no" as a "no" and not for a guy to "try harder" to get sex.
  • Ask your partner how she (or he) feels about sex and what s/he is and is not comfortable doing.
  • Volunteer for The Aurora Center as a Violence Prevention Educator.

Helpful Links

Aurora Publications:
Men's Pledge to End Rape
Sex Industry Packet
Research on Pornography