Allies versus saviors in sexual violence

A white ribbon to commemorate the National Day...
A white ribbon to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Right-to-life Awareness. White Ribbon. فارسی: روبان سفید، نماد بین‌المللی آگاهی و توجه به مبارزه با خشونت علیه زنان است. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CSU’s new True Man Coalition, founded by Josh Pawley, was created to encourage men to take a stand against sexual violence. The idea is to accept that sexual violence is everyone’s problem and that men need to make a behavioral commitment to help prevent it.

That’s awesome. The Collegian editorial board is nothing but in favor of men taking on responsibility for the prevention of sexual violence, but we’d also like to note that that responsibility is shared.

We don’t mean that women need to take measures to avoid being victims of sexual violence; we would just like men to remember that women do have their own agency and don’t need to be paternally looked after. Women aren’t vulnerable bunny-creatures. Women are people. While men’s commitment to the issue can only help, they need to remember that there is a difference between being an ally and being a “savior” — one is helpful, and one is disempowering. It’s not enough just to mean well, the end result matters as well.

We do think it’s commendable that the men of CSU are stepping up to the plate in a discussion that, despite involving men 90 percent of the time, they have been largely absent from for a very long time. Please just remember that intent does not automatically equate to impact.