A new look at violence

Internationally recognized educator and activist Tony Porter will present two workshops and a keynote speech on violence prevention and community safety at Portland State on Oct. 9.

With over twenty years’ work in the social justice arena, Porter is the co-founder of A Call To Men, a national organization of men and women dedicated to ending violence committed against women. A video on TED.com showcasing Porter’s presentation at TEDWomen 2010 has been viewed over 1 million times.

PSU’s Women’s Resource Center worked with multiple university groups to bring Porter to PSU.

The WRC’s director, Jessica Amo, noted that this marks a big growth for anti-violence education presentations at PSU.

“We haven’t had a nationally recognized speaker come to PSU for Domestic Violence Awareness Month since I’ve been on campus,” Amo said. “The WRC is excited to have a speaker of Tony’s caliber to start the year with a strong message around empowering students to create violence-free campus communities.”

According to promotional information from the WRC, each of Porter’s events will focus on examining the root causes of relationship and sexual violence and explore actions that everyone can take to create a safe and respectful campus community.

Presently on a speaking tour through the U.S. and Canada, Porter is a lecturer for the U.S. State Department and has worked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Kingdom and Brazil. Porter also works with numerous domestic and sexual violence programs, the National Football League and colleges and universities across America to help spread the message of anti-violence.

Amo said Porter’s message helps underscore the WRC’s focus on a preventative approach to treating issues of violence against women.

“As a campus community, we need to think about what leads to these events in the first place,” said Amo. “We need to examine what the root causes between relationship and sexual violence [are] and what we need to do to shift these as the norm.”

Porter will present two workshops in the Native American Student and Community Center on October 9. He will also be giving a keynote speech at Smith Memorial Union Ballroom on the same day.

While the first workshop is targeted toward men and the second toward student leaders, everyone is welcome to attend. All events are free for PSU students, faculty and staff.

Amo added that for students impacted by stories of sexual assaults on campus, “This is an especially good time to come find how to make campus a safer place.”