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April-16-01

A New Audience for Anti-Rape Message

The number and voices of groups like One in Four and Men Can Stop Rape are growing and reaching new audiences with their message of stopping rape, but they are drawing criticism from traditional anti-rape efforts because their messages are focused on men-only groups. One in Four, named for the University of Arizona research statistic that one in four women have been sexually assaulted, is a campus organization with chapters at several universities across the country. The group makes presentations to freshman males about communicating with women in sexual situations and how to talk to a woman if she comes to them for help or support. Men Can Stop Rape, a D.C. organization makes presentations nationwide to male only audiences about sexual restraint and respect for women.

Critics of these groups oppose the male-only policy for the presentations and any message that emphasizes men as rescuers of women. Supporters of the male-only stop rape programs believe giving men a male-only forum to discuss rape will open lines of communication and make the message of sexual assault education clearer and more effective. Mary P. Koss, the University of Arizona professor who first established the one in four statistic notes that while men may be more comfortable in an all-male setting, there is no conclusive proof that these programs actually reduce the number of rapes.

Media Resources: Washington Post April 16, 2001; University of Virginia

   

     

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