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Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault at IU

During the Little 500, one of IU’s largest events, a group of fraternity members called “Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault” (MARS) will promote sexual assault education and prevention through a BannerUp campaign. Their goal is to blanket the university and Greek housing with banners that say things like, “Real Hoosier Men Respect Women” and “Join MARS for a Safer IU.”

Not only does this group educate men on their campus with banners, but they do so by modeling respectful behavior toward all people. Several years ago, I taught one of the leaders of this movement when I was a teacher at Carmel High School. Brian Collings is a senior at IU who helps lead the MARS groups. “Our meetings consist of a combination of guest speakers, group training, and small group exercises with real life discussions. It’s a bunch of guys being honest and admitting there’s a problem on campus and acknowledging that sometimes they are part of the problem. The important thing is that we are learning how to address the problem and how to change our actions and impact our campus.”

Most of us would agree that behavior, attitudes, and language which dehumanize women contribute to sexual assault. Unfortunately, these messages of objectification saturate our culture, but these men have decided to take a stand. They have taken it upon themselves to examine their own behavior, attitudes, and language so they can model equality and safety to their peers.

To learn more about the MARS program, visit http://www.marsprogram.org/

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