So What If You Are A Man, You Are Still Important to the Women’s Center

“So why is there only a women’s center and not a men’s center?”

“How can a man benefit from a women’s center?”

These are just a couple questions the Women’s Center staff at UMKC receives from men who walk into our office.  We are constantly asked these questions because there seems to be a perception that men are not welcome in the Women’s Center or that the programs and services that we offer don’t have anything to do with them.   Could it be the name “Women’s Center” that deters men, or is it, perhaps, a certain chauvinism that makes men feel that they don’t need to be concerned about woman’s issues?

Here at the UMKC Women’s Center, our mission is to advocate, educate and provide support services for the advancement of women’s equity on campus and within the community at large. Although our primary concern focuses on women’s issues and the ongoing struggle for women’s equality, the center is also a place for advocacy, education, and support for both men and women who want to better understand gender issues.

Whether men know it or not, they can be a great asset to raising awareness for ongoing issues such as sexism, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other inequalities women endure on a daily basis.  Men too can have the power to help put an end to these issues. Besides being educated about issues like sexual assault, men can also take part in our events such as “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes”, or “Take Back the Night”, which are two of our events aimed at ending sexual and domestic violence.

So men, we do need your presence in the Women’s Center.  Women’s issues do impact you.  Think about it this way when you are questioning the importance of such a place to you: any of these issues like dating violence, could affect your spouse, girlfriend, mother, sister, niece, aunt, or cousin whom you love.  Each and every day these women you care about are struggling to make their presence more prevalent in society, to gain equality, and to feel safe.  With your help and your knowledge, there is another voice that has to be heard, and not just any voice, but the voice of a man who agrees with women’s issues and women’s equality.  If men continue to ignore such problems, then women will continue to face tribulations and endure not being heard by society.  Men, we need you to continue to raise more awareness about women’s issues. After all, women will always be a part of your life.

3 thoughts on “So What If You Are A Man, You Are Still Important to the Women’s Center

  1. As the father of a daughter, I am 100% supportive of the fact that sexual assault is something that should not occur under any circumstances.

    The one area that many women seem to conveniently overlook is that biological studies have shown that the most basic way men get “aroused” and become sexually attracted to women is through visual stimulation.

    While nothing justifies sexual assault, there are many instances where women should be charged with indecent exposure. For example: Wearing a bikini on the beach is a natural situation where women wearing scantily clad bathing suits may be “racy”, but still appropriate. However, a woman wearing that same scantily clad bathing suit in a mall or at a grocery store is inappropriate.

    One way to dramatically reduce sexual attention in inappropriate environments is for women to dress more conservatively in those environments. I’m not talking about burqas and excessive clothing covering every inch of the body; I’m talking about “dressing appropriately” for the theater you are going to.

    • What you wrote may or may not be true; but it is not relevant to this topic. While there may be many causes to a sexual assault, the only one that will affect the system every time relates to the sexual assaulter. Men need to respect women and see them as people not play things – period. The best way for this condition to defuse in our community remains to make sexual assault (whatever the causes of it) an unacceptable behavior. We must insist on a zero tolerance for this behavior, not put the responsibility for sexual assault on the victim.

    • This seems to be a common thought among men.

      I am here to state, (as a man working in the field of violence prevention), that we need to work on dispelling all forms of victim blaming. It happens in Domestic Violence and it happens in Sexual Violence. The above statement suggests that men are incapable of self-control. I think most men know that to force sex upon a women is an act of violence and never acceptable…a crime. We, men, are reasonable and intelligent and know the difference between right and wrong. We are not prisoner to our emotions/hormones. I speak to young men all of the time about alternatives to violence and self-control. Some have anger control issues and still they learn to control their behavior in an environment wherein they often do NOT have control of their surroundings.

      The same applies to the hormones that are a part of human DNA. To suggest that women should dress appropriately to reduce sexual violence is victim blaming. Men are still responsible for their actions…

      One of the most difficult concepts to teach is this idea of “if someone disrespects me… do I have to RIGHT to disrespect them?” It sounds like this blog entry is referring to a ‘disrespectful’ dressing of women… never would it be permissible to act in violence based on your disagreement (thus arousal) because of her clothing.

      If someone disrespects me… I then have to choose to act respectfully or choose an alternative, such as violence.

      Men have an important ‘voice’ in this area of violence prevention.

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