Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Wednesday evening, the Men in Action program hosted an event, Men vs. Women: Risk Reduction at WCU. This event was attended largely by the brothers of the fraternity Delta Chi. The program was lead by Malik Muhammad, an undergraduate staff worker for the WCU Women’s Center, and Josh Bills, a former graduate assistant for the Women’s Center and current employee at the Crime Victim Center in West Chester. The purpose of the event was to bring to light societal issues pertaining to sexual assault.
To begin, Muhammad and Bills asked the audience to create a list consisting of things men do every day to protect themselves from being sexually assaulted. It was hard for the men to come up with things to put on the list. In the end, the list contained five things, including “nothing,” “doesn’t cross my mind,” “don’t drop the soap,” and “avoid going to jail.” The men acknowledged that two of these items could be taken in a joking manner, therefore narrowing down the list to one action men do to avoid being sexually assaulted. The next task for the audience was to come up with a similar list for women. The responses came faster and tripled in number in comparison with the men’s list. When the same question was asked with alcohol influence, even more actions were added to the women’s list. All of the women’s actions were described as “risk reductions.”
The audience members were then asked about what it means to “drink like a man.” This list was much easier for the men to respond to than the one about protecting themselves from sexual assault. Their responses included things such as, “chugging,” “competition,” “shotgunning beer,” and “having the best drunk story.” All of these actions can be described as “risk enhancements.”
The reason Muhammad and Bills created these lists was to make the connection between the responsibilities men and women have in society. Men are encouraged to participate in risk enhancements while women are encouraged to partake in risk reduction. Putting the responsibility on the women to protect themselves causes victim blaming. The problem with women’s risk reduction acts is that the majority of them are to protect themselves from strangers. However, 90% of all rape cases are acquaintance rape, while only 10% are stranger rape. Muhammad and Bills gave the men this information to make a change.
“Bringing men into the conversation and letting them know they have the power to prevent sexual assault is primary prevention,” said Muhammad.
The Women’s Center and Men in Action are focusing on making a change and making sure that everyone is aware of the problems in society. The first step to change is knowledge. As Muhammad put it, “Change is not going to be easy and it is not going to happen overnight, but it is something we need to work toward.”
Colleen Curry is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *