Men CARE raises awareness against domestic violence
One in four women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
USC Men CARE, a student organization and education program, is trying to lower this statistic by raising awareness on campus.
In honor of Domestic Violence month, USC Men CARE, which stands for Men Creating Attitudes for Rape-free Environments, put up silhouettes outlining the bodies of domestic violence victims and attached their stories to their shadows.
âWe place them throughout campus to provide facts about domestic violence and educate students so they can get involved,â said Todd Henneman, program director for USC Men CARE and assistant director for the Center for Women and Men.
This project is part of the organizationâs Silent Witness program that encourages students to report domestic violence anonymously.
âYou will likely know someone whoâs experiencing or will experience domestic violence and you could become a victim of domestic violence,â Henneman said.
Every year 15.5 million children witness domestic violence and many are negatively influenced by this experience, Henneman said. He also said that women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of experiencing domestic violence.
âIf it hasnât been something youâve dealt with in the past, it will be something youâll have to deal with in the future,â said Cameron Sabol, president of USC Men CARE.
The program presents advice and offers strategies to students on how to maintain healthy relationships.
âWe go around and give lectures on how to recognize red flags for sexual assault and domestic violence,â said Sabol, a senior majoring in physics and computer science astronautical engineering.
According to Henneman, the audience was surveyed before and after the lectures. The surveys were then given to the USC Rossier School of Education for analysis.
âThe results show there were improvements of attitude; people were more likely to speak up,â Henneman said.
CarolAnn Peterson, an adjunct professor who teaches an undergraduate course on domestic violence in the USC School of Social Work, said she values people who acknowledge the serious issue of domestic violence.
âWhenever men get involved in an issue portrayed as a women issue itâs good,â Peterson said. Â âItâs a community issue and itâs important to stand up.â
Petersonâs course educates students on how to determine what domestic violence looks like, understand why it occurs and identify who perpetrates it.
Henneman said domestic violence is often perceived as a man abusing a woman, when in reality most domestic violence occurs in some form of emotional abuse.
âIt is important to understand different forms of domestic violence,â he said. Â âAn example is someone, a boyfriend or girlfriend, who wants all your free time and casts all others as a threat so itâs the two of you versus the world.â
Although Sabol said a very small portion of the male population perpetrates domestic violence, USC Men CARE promotes healthy masculine expression in its lectures and presentations.
âAll-male groups like sports teams and frats invite us to speak,â Sabol said.
The programâs 12 members learn about sexual assault, gender roles and masculinity before lecturing.
âSometimes there is pressure on college guys to prove their manhood through drinking, fighting … and the key is to speak up,â Henneman said.
Although most males want to resist bad influences and avoid getting into unhealthy situations, Henneman said most are afraid of being the first to object.
âAfter one guy calls the [perpetrator] out, the others usually speak up,â he said.
USC Men CARE began in 2005 and unlike most organizations, it has survived after its founding members graduated, Henneman said.
âLots of other universities want to start something like this because itâs unique,â he said. âItâs a very eclectic, diverse group of guys.â