The Title IX Office hosted a follow-up forum addressing men’s role in gender violence issues after its first #MeToo panel. Less than 10 students attended, but Title IX plans to hold monthly outreach activities starting in January to better educate students and create more awareness.
Reed Lesume, an intern with Title IX, spoke about the role of men in preventing sexual harassment and assault at a Title IX forum on Thursday, Nov. 30 in the HGB.
“First, we watched the video clip from Ted Talks by Jackson Katz,” said Lesume. “It was talking about how sexual assault isn’t a woman’s problem, it’s a man’s problem. He delves into some of the ways that society changes the focus of where the focus should be on the men instead of the focus being on the women.”
Rebekah Kay Strain, the Title IX deputy coordinator, said the purpose of this follow-up forum was to address some questions from the prior forum regarding what part men play in eliminating sexual assault.
“When we talk about sexual assault and harassment awareness the discussions often center on women,” Strain said. “Men are often left out of the discussion but are vital when it comes to sexual assault awareness and prevention.
“They play a very important role in being an active bystander, by standing up and speaking out against sexual harassment and assault. To change a culture where sexual misconduct is a prevalent occurrence, it takes both men and women being educated and working together for change.
“As with all forums, I hope students come away with an increased awareness regarding sexual misconduct and a desire to do what they can to prevent sexual misconduct from occurring at BYUH. This university needs to be a safe place, a refuge from the world. This can only happen when the campus is free from any form of harassment and assault. Education is vital in combating sexual misconduct.”
In light of the low turnout, Strain said she feels those who attended are the ones who already are aware and educated. “We want to get this message out to the ones who aren’t here who may have more questions or concerns about this.”
Macey Martin, a junior from Arizona studying communications, didn’t know anything about these forums but has seen the change that Title IX is making.
“In all honesty, I don’t know much about Title IX at all,” said Martin. “I know it has to deal with sexual assault, but that is about all I know. My coworker, however, just told me that her teacher was not allowing her to makeup work even though she was pregnant and had doctor’s notes to prove she was sick and had to go to the doctor often.
“Turns out, in Title IX, it states you are not allowed to be discriminatory against pregnant women. So, she reported it and was able to make up her work.
“I think a lot of people are just like me. [They] don’t know much about Title IX but know that it has to deal with sexual assault, when in reality it has to deal with a lot more. I definitely think being educated about it will be useful and helpful, especially in circumstances that my friend experienced.”
According to Lesume, the purpose of the monthly outreach activities starting in January is to ensure students are better aware of what Title IX is doing.
Lesume said, “This is kind of a new platform Title IX is doing to revamp the way we get the outreach out. We’re holding monthly Title IX campaigns, whether they are panel discussions, Q and As, or just poster campaigns just to keep Title IX fresh on people’s minds and let them know that this isn’t something you hear about once and have a little quiz and then forget about it for the rest of the year–this is something important to always know is available.”
Strain added, “One training at student orientation is not enough. A lot of the problems we see at BYUH stem from a lack of education regarding appropriate behavior in dating relationships and social interactions. This is especially true with the wide variety of cultures represented on campus.
“The most important lesson we can teach students is to treat others with respect and empathy. Healthy, respectful relationships involve looking out for the needs and wants of others more than our own wants and needs. Respect encourages us to speak out when sexual misconduct occurs. It also can prevent us from treating others in harassing, threatening ways, which too often is at the heart of the Title IX complaints we receive at BYUH.”
Lesume encouraged students to reach out. “Just know that Title IX is out there. If you need to see us, we’re more than willing to hear what you have to say. And we can help you either directly or indirectly through resources that we have in contact as well.”
To watch the video shown at the forum, click here: https://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue. Disclaimer: clicking on this link will take you away from the BYU-Hawaii and Ke Alaka‘i website. BYU-Hawaii and the Ke Alaka‘i are in no way affiliated with TED Talks and do not endorse or support the video in the link above.