Men against Rape comes to PSU

When Ethan Young came to Portland State five years ago, he was interested in joining a Men Against Rape group like the one his brother ran at Oregon State University. Present at college campuses around the nation, Men Against Rape student groups hope to enlist the help of men in preventing rape on campus.

When Ethan Young came to Portland State five years ago, he was interested in joining a Men Against Rape group like the one his brother ran at Oregon State University.

Present at college campuses around the nation, Men Against Rape student groups hope to enlist the help of men in preventing rape on campus. Five years ago, there was no Men Against Rape group at Portland State.

Last Thursday, over 30 people crowded into room 328 of Smith Memorial Student Union with Young for the first meeting of the new PSU Men Against Rape group.

“I’m really excited to see so many people here,” said Young, who founded the group. Young also acted as a facilitator for the first meeting.

Aimee Shattuck, coordinator of student affairs at the PSU Women’s Resource Center, said that the Men Against Rape group is an important part of rape prevention on the Portland State campus.

“I don’t think that the Women’s Resource Center can go it alone to do prevention,” said Shattuck, who was the first speaker at the meeting. She said she hopes that the new group will help and expand the current rape-prevention program.

Adam Lutz, one of the students at the meeting, heard about the group in his women’s studies class. Lutz spoke enthusiastically of the need to educate people about rape.

“I’ve known people who’ve dealt with sexual assault,” Lutz said. Many of the other attendees said they were inspired to join Men Against Rape because of the difficult experiences their acquaintances and relatives have been through.

At Thursday’s meeting, people introduced themselves and told how they had heard of the group: posters, women’s studies classes and at the Women’s Resource Center. Extra chairs had to be pulled into the meeting room in Smith, and one member ran to make extra copies of the mission statement.

Shattuck said that men come into the Women’s Resource Center all the time, asking how they can help with issues dealing with sexual assault.

Ending sexual violence is a difficult task, she said, and one that will not be accomplished soon. However, she said she is very excited about the possibility of Men Against Rape.

“I think it’s time for men to step up and talk to other men.” Shattuck said.

“I’m outraged by a lot of things that this group will seek to address,” Young said.

A community development major in his fifth year at PSU, Young began working on the idea for the group at the end of last summer. His brother was the president of the Men Against Rape group at Oregon State University.

Young was interested in joining a similar group at PSU, but was surprised to find that there was no similar organization.

“I just assumed there’d be one at PSU,” Young said, because the university is both urban and progressive. Young was concerned that there would be a negative reaction to the presence of the group.

“This isn’t about us beating each other over the head with a pamphlet,” Young said.

Young said Men Against Rape will be a place to address the questions raised by rape, such as why it even occurs. Young said the group will be a place to work on the personal, cultural and social self.

Jack Straton, a professor of University Studies, was at Thursday’s meeting. Straton founded Men Against Rape groups across the country during the 1980s, from Eugene to Washington, D.C. Though Straton is focused on national projects right now, he is lending a helping hand to the young student group.

The first group he founded was at the University of Oregon in Eugene in 1984. He said turnout at the initial meeting was only six men. Straton said the difference in numbers at PSU is because of a new mentality.

This group is a way “to try to get men to talk about the stuff we don’t want to talk about,” Straton said. One of those things is the predominance of rape by acquaintances-a figure on the Campus Public Safety website states that 85 percent of rapes involve someone the victim knew.

Several members at the meeting cited the data from the 2005 crime statistic reports at PSU, when there were four sexual assaults on campus.

Many, including Shattuck, said they believe the figure was much higher. This does not account for rapes off campus, and unreported rapes.

“Technically, the group hasn’t started yet,” Young said. That was quickly changed when he passed around the required ASPSU paperwork for signatures. Then, the students divided into subgroups to plan their next meeting.

The student group’s next meeting will be held Thursday, March 1 at 4 p.m. The location of the meeting and additional information can be obtained by contacting Ethan Young at [email protected]