Not A Just A Women's Issue: Project Educates Men About Gender Violence
The Albany County-based SAFE Project is heading up a new effort to engage men in the movement to end violence against women.
The SAFE Men program plans to select ten men each year to participate in training, where they'll learn why sexual abuse and domestic violence happens, and then design a project to create change on a specific issue.
Livvy Gerrish, the SAFE Project's outreach coordinator, said with the uptick in attention on violence against women she's also heard from more men about what they can do to help.
"So many people were like this is a huge problem." Gerrish said men told her: "I'm so upset about it. But honestly I don't have any tools and I don't know what to do. I don't know how to make change and improve my community without making things worse."
Gerrish said the hope is the training will address those fears and empower men to step up to make their communities safer.
"I think in Wyoming we see this a lot, and even nationwide, but particularly in Wyoming, we are a patriarchal society," said Gerrish. "Many people think that domestic violence and sexual violence and gender-based violence is a women's issue."
The danger in seeing it as a women's issue, Gerrish said, is then the burden falls on women to fix the problem. One hope of SAFE Men is to increase the number of advocates by helping men to see that sexual violence and domestic violence are their issues too.
Nominations and applications are accepted until December 1. There's more info at safeproject.org.