Students get gender perspective of sexual assault (men)

By Joe Martone

Men at Cal Poly Pomona learned about masculinity and respecting
women when Men Against Violence brought keynote speaker and “A Call
to Men” co-founder Ted Bunch to Ursa Major on Friday.

Bunch, who has spoken at colleges across America, spent most of
his hourlong speech examining cultural stereotypes found in male
behavior.

The main issues concerning masculinity were stated in a concept
called the “man box.”

The man box contains the stereotypical and culturally enforced
ideas of what a man should be like. These included being athletic,
muscular and emotionally stunted between anger and lust.

Things such as sensitivity and respectfulness remained outside
the box.

“We’re allowed to be angry, we’re allowed to be pissed, but
we’re not allowed to express sadness or fear,” said Bunch. “We push
it outside the box.”

Bunch said he felt that men, on the whole, are good people who
do not hurt women and are “well-meaning.”

Because of this, however, he said most men would not do anything
when they see a woman being mistreated.

“There’s a lot of harm we do to ourselves and we wreak havoc on
women,” said Bunch. “I don’t think we really realize how we impact
them. I want to raise awareness that the silence that men
perpetrate [is] as harmful as the violence itself.”

Bunch told the audience he was susceptible to society’s ideas of
gender discrimination as well. He recalled being overprotective of
his young daughter when she hurt herself during a game of jump
rope, but had to restrain himself from being critical when his then
8-year-old son bruised himself during a game of basketball and
started crying.

“I picked him up, took him inside and let him cry on my shoulder
for a little bit,” Bunch said. “As he was crying it was killing me
inside, and I wanted to say so badly, ‘Stop, I can’t understand you
when you’re slobbering.’ It was a whole different mindset in how we
respond to our boys than our girls.”

Although the event began at 11 a.m., Bunch did not begin
speaking until noon.

The first hour was spent waiting for people to arrive. The
coordinators introduced themselves to the present audience members
and gave them a buffet lunch in Ursa Major.

Even though advertisements for the day’s event targeted men in
an effort to get more to attend, the seats were filled when a large
group of women from a separate event arrived at noon.

The event was organized by Coordinator of the Women’s Resource
Center Erika Zepeda, Assistant Coordinator Mayra Lewis, Men Against
Violence President Pierre Menard, Vice President Christian Murillo
and Secretary Patrick Wall.

Lewis said she wanted to have a day-long conference, but opted
for a smaller event that would get things started.

“We’ve had this idea in the fall,” said Lewis. “We wanted to do
a program targeting men with help from Men Against Violence. Next
year we can do something bigger.”

A large percent of the men in attendance were fraternity
members, who were given the added incentive of earning Poly Gold
for their fraternity if they attended the event.

Murillo, a second-year psychology student, said the event was
originally going to target fraternities directly ,but was expanded
as a “call to [all] men” to address sexual assault.

“I think there could be a lot more done about sexual assault,”
said Murillo about addressing the issue at Cal Poly Pomona. “I want
men to think about it when their friend says something sexist, or
do something about it in order to prevent things like this from
happening.”

Students get gender perspective of sexual assault (men)

Aaron Bagamaspad / The Poly Post

Students get gender perspective of sexual assault (men)

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