True Man Coalition unites Colorado State men against sexual assault

Many women have taken self-defense courses. Most women carry some sort of protection against an attacker with them at all times, be it pepper spray, a flashing light or a key chain designed to stab. But something that may not often be seen is a man who has made it his mission to prevent sexual violence through his actions.

“In the past, sexual violence has been approached from the risk reduction side. We teach potential victims how to protect themselves,” wrote Josh Pawley, founder of the new True Man Coalition, in an email to the Collegian. “That’s not the issue. The problem is that 90 percent of the perpetrators are men, yet men as a whole do nothing to prevent it.”

The True Man Coalition is designed for the men of CSU to stand against sexual violence, according to Pawley. Although the coalition is not a club that meets regularly or requires financial obligations for membership, Pawley said the coalition is a behavioral commitment.

“All that we ask is for men to be open to ideas that will be presented at our events which will be held one to three times per semester, examine their stance on the issue and behaviorally commit to being a ‘True Man,’” Pawley wrote. “There is no contract/oath/etc. — because the most powerful oath is the one that is pledged to oneself.”

To members of the coalition, the image of a true man is the driving idea behind the organization.

“A true man is one who would stand up for what is right… He would say something even if it made him uncomfortable,” said Dan Thompson, a founding member of the group. “He is not just a gentleman, but a leader who has high standards and who recognizes that women need our help and can’t do this alone.”

Michelle Yoo, the Greek Life Panhellenic Council President, said the coalition is an exciting shift of events for Greek women on CSU’s campus.

“I appreciate how committed they are to learning more about it and how it can affect their lives, as well as the women around them,” Yoo said. “I really admire how they are trying to create the image of the ‘true man.’ Although we have great men here on campus and in the Greek community, there is always room for improvement.”

The first True Man event will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Clark Building and is open for all CSU men interested.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Carrie Mobley can be reached at collegian@news.com