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Men Against Violence Fights for Sexual Assault Awareness

Student peer education group Men Against Violence (MAV) is adding a much-needed role in campus sexual violence activism: men.

According to its website, MAV “is a group of Penn State men who seek to oppose interpersonal violence in all of its manifestations and to promote healthy masculinity.” The group meets weekly for trainings on sexual violence, healthy relationships, and effective facilitation methods. After being trained, the men sign up to facilitate workshops with groups on campus like fraternities and first-year seminars.

MAV does more than facilitations, too. Each spring for Sexual Violence Awareness Week, MAV hosts Walk A Mile In Her Shoes to show support and solidarity for survivors of sexual violence (it’s a bunch of college guys trying to walk in heels for a good cause — what more could you want?). This semester, the organization is also conducting shorter 30-minute facilitations with student groups, after which MAV helps the students to film their own version of the “It’s On Us” video.

MAV has gained more traction this year, adding many new members to the organization, including IFC President Dan Combs. Combs said he joined MAV after hearing a presentation from a former MAV member who opened his eyes to how deeply sexual assaults can impact victims’ lives.

From this program I formed the belief that fraternities, based on our values that we’re taught, should be the safest places on campus for women. I joined MAV to help spread education on the topic and to lead the battle to combat sexual assaults on campus and in fraternities,” Combs said. 

Any men interested in joining can check meeting times and find MAV’s Facebook page on the Center for Women Students website. Women interested in getting involved should check out Peers Helping Reaffirm Educate and Empower (PHREE), the female peer education group working to raise awareness about sexual assault. Those interested in a facilitation can contact Erin Farley, the PHREE coordinator, at [email protected].

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About the Author

Melissa McCleery

Melissa is a senior majoring in Women’s Studies, Political Science, and Spanish. In the little free time she has, Melissa likes to cook, spend all her money at The Phyrst, and add to her collection of blue and white striped clothing. She can be reached via Twitter (@mkmccleery) or email ([email protected]).

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