October 19, 2005
Men and Women As Sexual Assault Survivors
Last month I posted a link to an article about Laveranues Coles of the New York Jets and his coming out as a survivor of sexual abuse. Today The Uncommon Man received a comment to that article that is a heartfelt response to Laveranues from a woman. She admits to having harbored a prejudice toward men who have been the victim of rape. She also reveals that after seeing Laveranues on Oprah, she has more understanding and empathy for men who have been assaulted. I encourage you to check out her commment here
This comment has me thinking about the power of empathy. It is obviously the key-link to working with any kind of victim. If you are going to talk to or work with a victim of sexual assault, you need to have empathy (and understanding) of her/his situation. It is also a key-link to working with any type of perpetrator - whether it is sexual assault, domestic violence, or violence in general. If there is any hope of getting a perpetrator to stop their behavior, they need to gain empathy for their potential victim.
It can also be a key motivator toward getting folks to become activists. In my work with men, most men I've had as colleagues have come to pro-feminist men's work because of their relationships with women who have been raped or assaulted.
Today, I learned of a college program that builds on this empathy that many men have and uses this to turn them into sexual assault peer-education leaders. It is a program that started at William and Mary and has been used at many other colleges. You can read more about it at the link below:
Posted by Russell at October 19, 2005 01:29 PM