The mission of The Institute on Women is to improve the lives of the 5.9 million women and girls in Ohio by serving as a data-rich resource for strategic change.
On V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, 14 February 2013, Eve Ensler invited ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to violence against women and girls. The Institute's contribution to this uprising and our invitation to you is described below.
The Flyer: Guys, Let's Talk
Our ask? That sometime in February (or March) you organize a discussion, with men, about the need to talk frankly with men and boys about rape and violence against women. And what they can do to prevent it. Because it's kind of like the old Smokey the Bear commercials on TV; only men, who are almost always the perpetrators of violence against women, can really reduce and prevent it.
Need some ideas?
Organize a morning coffee break at work - or ask for time in a regularly scheduled staff meeting. Offer to lead a brown bag discussion over lunch, or hand out flyers as folks leave the office at the end of the day. Share the materials at your church, or at your son or daughter's basketball game. Make sure all your friends have a copy of the materials and ask them to share them with the important men and boys in their lives. Ask your schools to have age-appropriate conversations with both boys and girls. It shouldn't be just the girls learning self-defense; the boys should be learning about violence against women and what they can do to prevent it.
It doesn't have to be a major event, because if each of us reaches even a small group of folks, and we ask them to reach out to friends and associates, we can use the beauty of our connected lives to impact a significant number of people. And while we won't be dancing in the streets (which would probably be buried in snow anyway!), we can do our part to stand with Ensler and women, men, boys and girls around the world to call for an end to violence against women.
Want to Strike-Dance-Rise! on Feb. 14? Check out the list of activities being held at Otterbein University: Schedule
In two brilliant pieces published recently, the authors paint the stark reality of rape and sexual assault. Sondra Miller of Cleveland's Rape Crisis Center makes the point in her Cleveland Plain Dealer Post that more people experience rape in their lifetimes (one in five women, one in 71 men) than start smoking in their lifetimes, yet funding for sexual assault services and prevention are no match for the billions spent on the getting people to throw away their cigarettes.
And Rebecca Solnit, in her essay A Rape a Minute, A Thousand Corpses a Year, notes that "if we talked about crimes like these and why they are so common, we’d have to talk about what kinds of profound change this society, or this nation, or nearly every nation needs. If we talked about it, we’d be talking about masculinity, or male roles, or maybe patriarchy, and we don’t talk much about that."